Limiting Teen Driving? Could Be the Biggest Mistake of All


The great Minnesotan Brett Favre (no! Strike that.) Prince once said "You don't have to be cool to rule my world". I don't think he knew how wrong he was.


A car, as every reader of this site knows, is one of the most cool material things in life. And if you happen to be a just-licensed teen/early twentysomething, most of your world revolves around what kind you own (or how to get one), and how it is going to get you to where you want to go.

Spending large amounts of time in something that can move you such great distances in such a short period of time (except for you, Toyota appliance drivers) offers a multitude of benefits for a young person, like allowing them to get to school and that huge party next Saturday night… err, I mean, retail places that spur on our local and national economy.

It also opens up a big ‘ol box of negatives. Like death. Or getting in accidents. Or death. Yeah, mainly death. One in three teenage deaths has a car involved, and teen drivers are four(!) times more likely to be in an accident than the rest of the driving population, so says the Centers for Disease Control. In a nutshell, teenagers should be avoided like the plague. And when they are behind a steering wheel, too!

So, let's enact some laws. Texting while driving? Don't. Riding with more than one person under the age of 21? No. Drinking and driving? You better not. Putting no-name cheap exhaust pipes and many thousands of dollars in upgrades to your sub-two thousand dollar car? Why, that's illegal, son. The anti-cruising and hooning laws? Any car law California enacts? Those are all good ideas that other states should also do, right?

No. That's exactly what we should not do. Less legislation, more hands on. That would make a pretty good advertising slogan, yes? More intensive driving schools, not the current classroom boredom-fest and local drives with members of the senior center would be a welcome addition in my book. You know how much fun driving schools are (You've never been to one? Me neither. But they look pretty awesome, right?)?? Those seem to be a better fit. Teach young drivers how to steer into skids and snow slides and flat tire situations; don't just mention it in passing in a classroom. Show them how dangerous texting and driving can be, break out the graphic imagery if needed. I know when the county coroner came to my high school and showed my classmates and I the pictures of horrific accidents drunk drivers caused, needless to say I have been scared straight ever since.

Modifying your car? Make it less taboo and I'm willing to bet some of the thrill will wear off. Much like underage drinking or lying to your boss; it becomes way less cool when you're allowed to do it. Also, if state governments became more involved with things like the aforementioned track days, as well as drag racing, drift events, etc., hopefully a bit of positive brainwashing will happen and young adults will know to keep it on the track.


Australia has enacted many a hoon law, and look how up in arms the gearheads are over (down?) there. Just reading this dear site has told me stories of F1 drivers being ticketed for letting their foot slip off the clutch for a few too many seconds. Many places in the United States have very murky-worded engine swapping laws for example, such as the popular (yet illegal) Nissan SR20DET into a 240sx switch. Many weekend track drivers use this potent four banger as a great drift engine, as it puts out heaps of horsepower on the cheap. Many who have taken a leap and made the switch also post on forums boasting about their 30-plus miles to the gallon. But were you to run into an officer having a bad day? It could be impound city if you are driving your hard work home solely because of the lack of smog testing; as well as Nissan never offering the engine in a car in the United States.

These are just a few suggestions to remedy this problem; just think of what else I could wax on moronically about if I were to run the weekend posts on Jalopnik! And hey, younger kids could be the worst thing to happen to the automobile since the Cadillac V8-6-4 engine, but they have to learn somehow, or else they will be that way forever. And honestly, do we need to protect them with many superfluous laws? I say no, because that only sets up a nanny-type state. Hands on is the way to go. How do I know this about young adult drivers? Why, until very recently, I was one!


This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"


The Vibe Guy, Apparently

Impressive approach to it. As a teen who just got his license Thursday, I know fully what you're talking about, and support the idea of hands-on fully. Or else we're left with the temptation to sport around in parking lots with out step-moms car!