Should children be allowed to drive?

Who would you rather have driving? Little Maggie - or Homer?

Who would you rather have driving? Little Maggie – or Homer?

Why are children not allowed to drive cars?

“It’s very frustrating,” said Top Boy, age 13, “to be sitting in a moving car, but not driving it.”

Soon, I soothed him, soon…

But he was not deterred. And in fact went further. Says he: “Assuming they can pass the driving test, it’s actually more sensible for children to drive than adults.”

Because…

  1. Children are used to learning and learn more quickly and effectively than adults.
  2. Children are used to following the rules.
  3. Children would not have such bad driving habits.
  4. Children would not be in such a hurry.
  5. Children would be getting such a kick out of driving they would not be letting their minds wander.
  6. Children have better eyesight.
  7. Children have quicker reactions.
  8. Children would be less likely to be distracted by disruptive passengers. (As Top Boy pointed out, he can do 200 miles per hour on computer driving games and stay on the track even with his mates pestering him. And that’s far faster.)

I was a captive audience. I couldn’t escape. I was driving.

But more importantly – is he right? And if not, why not?

Luckily this is all hypothetical, because I doubt he’d want to be seen behind the wheel of my car. But help me out here, I need 8 arguments to fight back with. Actually 9 would mean I win.

C’mon fellow adults. Help me keep 13-year-olds off the roads.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Should children be allowed to drive?

  1. I realise I’m channeling my parents here, but frankly if you didn’t earn the money to pay for it, insure it and tax it, you don’t get to drive it.

    • blackwatertown

      Sounds more like delaying tactics…
      1. He could – potentially – buy a cheap wreck.
      2. Lots of drivers go on other people’s insurance – over-17s and even spouses – so a consistent ban would rule them out too. Or abnkrupt us all even more with the price of insurance premiums.
      3. You mean people still tax their cars? But why bother with the almost complete absence of police and army checkpoints on the roads? (NB> My car is taxed.)

      And anyway – that doesn’t rule out driving other people’s cars. ie mine.

  2. “Because I said so,” was a favorite if my parents…

  3. Children may know the basics of how to drive a car from point A to point B, but what happens if they suddenly….

    Need to drive through flood water – weather changes in recent years make it more of a possibility.
    Hit an icy patch on the road.
    Sudden fog descends with no visibility for the road or traffic around them.
    An oil spillage on the road,
    High winds that make the car shake.
    Other less considerate drivers.*

    * I was driving down the M2 towards Belfast, on my way to the West link and onward to Dublin, when a car three lanes to my right, at the point where the M5 becomes the M3 (BWT you will know the road), crossed crablike lest than a cars length in front of me to get the it offslip for Corporation St.

    FIVE LANES AT SPEED CRABLIKE!

    • blackwatertown

      Heroic effort – but I fear the response will be that children are far better equipped to cope with those dangerous surprises than adults, thanks to their experiences skidding and dodging through online games etc.

      Good point to raise about the inconsiderate drivers. I am regularly reminded from the back seat that I can either have the windows open while driving or the music on – but not both. So bossy. Arguably more considerate too.

  4. 1. Your legs are not long enough
    2. When you get bored with your computer driving, you just leave the car wherever it might be. That is not a good idea with a car on the road as you might have a long way to get to your bed so the computer driving does not count.
    3. Children are used to obeying the rules – but only when it suits them and not always which is required for car driving
    4. Because it is the law and when he is over 18 he can then vote and have his elected representative campaign to change it. The law may be an ass sometimes but even the best parent cannot change it

    Still think you will lose though

  5. blackwatertown

    Yes yes yes!
    Number two is a killer point. (And i won’t be able to come and collect him because he’ll have abandoned the car.) And we all know that adults never forget where they’ve parked the car. And they never wander the streets for hours before reporting it stolen. And are then never terribly embarrassed.

    Point 1 – fair enough. Might be tall though. Or wear platformss.

    Point 3 – kind of applies to adults too.

    Point 4 – a sneaky catch 22 – an unfair hurdle – therefore completely appropriate.

    I’m feeling a lot more confident now. Thank you Mixed Messages.

    • It is sad that this blog entry has been floating around my brain since yesterday but it has and hopefully this will not free up my thoughts for something equally important.

      5. As well as driving, it is the drivers responsibility to navigate and also estimate the time of arrival. So the driver relinquishes all rights to ask ‘Are we there yet’ (If you have SatNav, this defence argument may fall immediately)

      6. “Children would be getting such a kick out of driving they would not be letting their minds wander” – just like Christmas presents when the mind might not wander for a few hours when something else may be more interesting.

      7. “Says he: “Assuming they can pass the driving test, it’s actually more sensible for children to drive than adults.”” – O.K. go and pass the driving test so (You didn’t impose the restriction on age)

      8. Assume = Ass (of) You (and) Me

      If all this fails, sign him up for driving tutorials at an off-road venue. He will soon get bored of it

      • blackwatertown

        No 5. could work – along the lines of – actually, I didn’t realise how long some of these journeys took, can you take over so I can have a break/snooze? (Answer: NOooooo – Suck it up. Swerve. Eeek, ok ok ok.)

  6. Your reply to Grannymar’s comment “…I fear the response will be that children are far better equipped to cope with those dangerous surprises than adults, thanks to their experiences skidding and dodging through online games etc. …” is spot on. It took me decades to break anything but when I did my son, the then skate boarder, told me to roll off my shoulder to cushion the fall, instead of stretching my arms out which I did instinctively. Let’s forget that his advice and my inability to follow it has traumatized me so much I weave this little anecdote into every other conversation as only a pub bore can.

    I’d say: Let them. The moment their feet can touch the pedals whilst able to peer out of the windscreen above the steering wheel, negotiate all those most vital instruments for survival (mirrors) at the same time and have memorized the highway code – particularly the signs for one way streets, no U-turn – and know their left from their right, everything will be fine. There is always a ditch or a tree. Look at Jackson Pollock and Albert Camus. And they were well over fourty.

    If you are in my father’s league you may ask him to start saving for his funeral plan whilst installing drainage to his parents tear ducts.

    U

    • blackwatertown

      Oh no – we’re rolling over in acceptance here. You’re on his side. Fair enough.
      I suppose one drawback for him/them would be not being able to read while driving.
      Or having the tables turned as a taxi service for journeys to and from the pub (ferrying me).

  7. Anniestar

    If he’s driving, he’s leaving you with your hands free to choose the journey’s soundtrack. Assuming he doesn’t appreciate some of your more eclectic musical tastes (does he these days?), this point could be a winner…

    • blackwatertown

      This could indeed be a winner – control of the music is something I had wrested from me a long time ago. Just think – no more One Direction. (Though to clarify, that’s not Top Boy’s choice of music.)

  8. How else could should children be allowed to drive? But getting cheap car insurance for 17 year olds is difficult enough without going younger.

  9. Should children be allowed to drive? An excellent question.
    However, if it there was a photograph of your boy behind the wheel we could possibly judge a lot better.

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