This Car Brakes and Blinks--Teen Driver

I would like to personally thank the senator that passed the new bill with stricter mandates for teen Oklahoma drivers--particularly the idea that all upcoming drivers must attend a driver’s education class.  It’s probably a good idea that all teen drivers are required to know how to drive before they set off on the state’s highways. 

But, now I have a 15 ½ year-old and I’m disconcerted to find that the new law applies to us.  In my brain Joy reminds me of the freedom of having a teen driver but Fear and Anxiety put up a good fight.  Finally great memories of those teen yearnings win out so we're driving.

I am told over the grapevine (my teen’s peers) that she must drive six months before she can apply for a license, and that to drive she must get a learners permit. We go to the licensing division, and dream of driving while standing in an hour-long line inching forward until we reach the sign on the wall that explains the forms and documentation we should have had in order to even qualify to stand in the line.  Oops.  I drive home and we return with a minimum of information, proof that her school offers drivers ed., proof that she is alive, (birth certificate) and proof that she is a citizen of the United States (a social security number),  we again rejoin the line with other kids her age and compare notes with them.  “Is this all we need?”  They aren’t sure either. 

She makes it through the gauntlet and takes a written test (computerized and multiple choice), and misses three, which is almost the limit I’m told, by the guy ahead of me who has taken the test four times and missed six and who has finally decided to study for it.  Yay!  She can drive! 

Then I ask the examiner when can she drive, what time of day, and with whom?  The examiner doesn’t know, she tells me to ask when we walk across to the tag agency, where we will pay and get her permit.

But when we do that, they don’t know there either.  So, here I am, with a new teen driver with no experience and a brand new permit ready and roaring to go.  Rumor has it, again through the grapevine that she can drive anywhere with anyone over 21 in the front seat!  That’s all she needs to know!  She’s off.  Which is the gas pedal again? 

Sometime in the near future, she hopes to get her driving permit, so eventually she’ll have to show up at some driver’s education class and the teacher will attempt to undo the mistakes I’ve panic-drilled into her brain.  It may take years of deprogramming to correct those mistakes. 

As she wings around corners and I stomp a hole in the floorboards, I wonder how the new laws have made the roads any safer? 

We turn into our driveway at 25 mph, plow over the front flower bed and screech to a halt two inches from a stone pylon that holds up the south end of the house.

Maybe someday I’ll look up the law and see what the bill maker really intended,  but until then, this car brakes, turns, and blinks for no apparent reason.   We’re driving. 

P.S.  Can I get a magnetic sticker for the back of my car that says, “Warning: Passenger Driver?” 


No comments: