Here’s a way to wean America from its car culture: How about scaring your kids to death? This NYT story looks at how American teens are not exactly rushing to get their drivers’ licenses any more, and the reasons why — they’re too busy prepping for college, Mom drives them everywhere, and they’re too afraid of accidents. This latter reason is apparently being encouraged by parents:
One such parent is Teresa Sheffer, of Bethlehem, Ga. Her daughter, Kelsey, has had a permit for nearly two years, but is not yet fully licensed because of her mother’s safety concerns. Ms. Sheffer, a pediatric nurse, even paid a police officer to drive with Kelsey to previous accident sites and graphically explain what had happened.
Must be nice to be flush with that kind of cash… instead of paying for a chauffeur, you pay a cop to frighten your kid? Whatever. A parent’s gotta do what a parent’s gotta do…
I can’t say that any method that keeps kids from mindlessly piling into cars for no other reason than “all their friends are doing it,” is necessarily a bad method. And maybe fear is a better motivator for giving up our culture’s love affair with cars, than high-minded exhortations about making America greener. (I am wondering if fear and poverty are going to be the real keys to the greening of America, not strategies devised by the well-fed…)
Another method of keeping your child from getting her driver’s license too quickly is the tag-team approach: (a) one parent refuses to give the kid lessons because they claim extreme nervousness, and (b) one parent insists the kid learn to drive standard right out of the box, even though it’s an onerous complication for a teen who is just trying to learn the rules of the road. Hey… it worked for MY parents!