Well, the ‘holidays’ are fast approaching and we are already in the second week of Advent! How time flies! Linda and I are struggling to get all the lights up and, probably more than usual, worrying about what is going to go under the tree. Right now, it looks more like carpet than anything else. We are nearing the end of a tough year, the employment situation is not just a statistic here, it is the reality of day to day existence. Though I have been working as a driving instructor, that was only a part time job from the beginning to offset the difference between a teacher’s salary and where the bills end. For a bit more than a year, it has been the only salary and the distance between the bills and salary has been further and further. I have had a great empathy for those that have been looking for work, even when I have worked 7 days a week, it still is not enough. I have considered other part time work, but that has offered less than what I am making now, making it a lose-lose situation (give up hours in one part time job which pays more to take hours in another job to get less? Hmmm, what’s wrong with that picture?)
Anyway, Linda and I have our health, our family, and Faith. We pray that we will see the other side soon and can relate to those that fear the new year. I hope and pray that the new year will be a new beginning. I pray for those that have not offered me, and others of my age, a job because they see the gray hair and think we are “too old” or “we can’t afford someone with your experience”.
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There is a bill before Congress that, as I understand it, will propose to raise the driving age from the current 16 to 18 as well as raise the permit age from 15 and 1/2 to 16. I believe this is short-sighted and potentially will cause more harm than good.
I am a driving instructor, aside from the jobs implications across the country for many losing their livihood, this places the time when teens will be independently driving to the same timeframe that they leave home. At the current limits, drivers typically learn to drive when they are in High School, when they live at home under the supervision of their parents. Currently, students are supervised and restricted by parental authority for about 2 years after receiving their licenses.
If the age is raised, students will be independently driving at the same time they are typically leaving home. There will be no parental guidance that will guide them through two of the most influential years of their lives, giving them gradual independence as they learn to drive. Children will be thrown into driving independently as they move into dorms and into their own apartments.
As well, typically teens begin working and gaining independence coinciding with obtaining their licenses, after the permit period. Because of the time restraints on parents’, many do not pursue this step toward added responsibility until they have their full license. This will be, yet another, step postponed until after the student leaves the household and is an ‘adult’, either living on campus or away from parental supervision.
In the effort to save children’s lives, I think that this provision would only serve to sacrifice more children, though later. It would postpone and magnify. If anything is needed, it may be more structured instruction and, possibly, encouraging insurance companies to provide more benefits to safe drivers. If there has to be laws enacted to restrict citizen’s rights, maybe look to actual statistics and use those as starting points. Maybe restrictions of 17 year boys in brand new Mustangs?
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