Where do maturity, judgment fit with teen driving?

Readers of this blog occasionally see sad news stories about teen crashes.  I note those stories because, typically, they underscore factors found in many crashes involving new drivers.
   If teens and their parents become aware of those factors, they might prevent wrecks, injury, and heartache.
   Here’s another sad story. Happily, no one died. But this one leaves me scratching my head.
   A 15-year-old boy recently drove two drunk friends to a Spokane Valley Taco Bell on a Friday night. The driver lost control of his 1998 Toyota Camry at more than 100 mph and hit a power pole.
   All three were injured, one critically. A 14-year-old riding in the back seat said he saw the speedometer top 120 mph. 
  The driver’s mother refused to let police question her son at the hospital.
   Though the driver had not been seen drinking or smoking marijuana that night – unlike his two passengers – the three had done so together in the past.
   So, we have familiar teen-crash factors in play: one-car accident, speeding, at night, teenage passengers, car leaves roadway, hits pole (usually it’s a tree).
   It’s the other factors that leave me scratching my head.
   How did the unlicensed 15-year-old end up driving a car? Did he sneak the keys? Or was he allowed to take them?
   Why would a mother refuse police questioning? Was it somehow in her son’s best interest?
   Also – and I’m not being a joker here – how does a meager Camry reach 120 mph? In a residential area? Approaching an elementary school?
   How smart is that?
   Obviously, not smart at all. It illustrates that along with experience and skill, maturity and judgment are needed to responsibly handle a car. Read the Spokesman-Review story.

by  Jon Osterberg

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