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Like much of my commentary, this piece was created out of frustration and anger. I have witnessed kids being cut out of cars they should never had the opportunity to drive, too many times. Obviously, any car can hurt and/or kill. Trust me, I found plenty ways to get into trouble driving a '74 Pinto as a teen. However, placing a performance car in the hands of a teenager is asking for disaster - it's just too much of a temptation!!

As a father with a child that has just started to drive, this issue hits home on every MVA I roll upon. I see her, or one of her friends that I watched grow up, on the face of every kid my FD must extricate. I read about it in the regional papers, see it on the local news channels, and of course, am directly involved here in my home district; kids + fast cars + inexperience + invincibility = hurt!

I wanted a sports car as a teen - what teen doesn't want a flashy car? But I see now, that having a simple vehicle was the prudent choice - though it probably cost me a date or two (such is life). Parents need to rethink their choices and motivation when deciding to hand over the keys to a missile - because it just may become that.

Anyway, this is my take on the issue, take it for what it is; a father concerned for his daughter and her friends, a firefighter concerned about the people he protects, a man angered over unnecessary hurt.

Your thoughts?

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Comment by Nick Morgan on September 30, 2010 at 9:24pm
Paul, I couldn't agree with you more! Mine was a 1970 Ford F-100. Lot's of metal around. It'll be awhile before my little ones are old enough to drive, but I'm sure it will comne all too soon. BTW, the cell phones and texting only make it worse!

Stay safe!
Comment by Peter Hannan on September 29, 2010 at 8:09pm
Total Agreement, much the same here in Australia, although we have restrictions on how much power and how many passengers for the first few years, they still get around the restrictions and do stupid things!

My son turns 18 in 5 months and will start driving alone on his Probationary license. We went out the other day to get some more time up on his Learners license in my 4x4 (Crew Cab, Tray back), got on some back country gravel roads, I looked up to see he was coming in too fast to a blind bend and called 'brake', He slammed on the brakes and we started to slide with the back starting to step out, I called 'correct' which he had started to do, he overcorrected forcing a slide back the other way. We shot off the road sideways and I still don't know how we didn't roll over.

I think he learnt a valuable lesson, but it still scares me to think He'll be driving alone soon.

My first Car, Torana, straight six - 3 speed, probably similar size to your Pinto. My second Car, Premier, 327 V8 - 4 Speed, think Nova for size. Lots of Paddock driving and off road racing before I hit the roads with a license. Got to hand it to Finland for their driver training program though.
Comment by Ralph Everage, Jr. on September 28, 2010 at 9:23pm
Much in agreement Paul. Very well stated. Living in a smaller community, we have seen this too many times!!

and for the record, mine was a '73 Pinto.

Be Safe, and keep on illustrating!!
Comment by John K. Murphy on September 28, 2010 at 5:52pm
Had the same thoughts when I responded to these calls - is this my child? I weep for those parents and children who get more than they bargained for. For my kids, low and slow POS four bangers with stick shift that could barely run over a slug. Thank god they survived that period of their lives.

Thanks again Paul for an illustrative commentary
Comment by Ron Ayotte on September 28, 2010 at 2:33pm
I had a friend who daughter wanted a brand new Camaro for her 16th birthday... She started peppering Dad, dropping hints, sales brochures and pointing out every Camaro she saw....

When her birthday came... Dad handed her the garage door remote and told her to push the button....

What was inside the garage?

A Plymouth Reliant K-Car.

H told her that when she could prove she could take care of a car, pay for maintenance and drive safely (not even as much as a parking ticket) , he would co-sign a note for her to get the Camaro she wanted.

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