Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Driving is a Privilege Not a Right

Name: Braden Sloan
From: Sherman, TX
School: Gunter High School
Votes: 0

is a Privilege not a Right

As a teen
driver, we pride ourselves on getting our first set of wheels. That
is after the much-dreaded driving test is passed of course. Then you
have instant bragging rights, marked by the long lanyard swaying
against your leg as you walk through the school halls which is
attached to your car keys stuffed in the front pocket of your jeans.
Those driving test nerves are quickly replaced with a sense of
entitlement to the keys in the front pocket of your jeans. It is in
that moment that the privilege of holding a driver’s license
becomes absent to the stark responsibilities. At least that is how my
story began.

The freedom
of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, starting the engine and
freely driving to your destination was nearly taken away from me. My
mother learned of my phone use while driving and rapid acceleration
through a vehicle monitoring application she had purchased. After
pleading with her about my skills of multi-tasking failed to get me
my keys back, I sat back waiting for the consequence phase. She
explained to me that driving in itself requires a high level of
multi-tasking already, from checking mirrors, reading street signs,
using blinkers, checking traffic up ahead then behind. I don’t know
when my eyes glossed over, but I’m pretty certain it wasn’t when
she said, “you will only get your keys back after you take a
teenage driving safety course.”

She had my
attention. I got right on that safety course. Little did I know how
much it would change me, even mature.

Now, when I
sink into the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition, I view
my set of wheels differently. My set of wheels is one of the
deadliest weapons. I think about how my mother would react if she got
news that me or my little brother were killed while driving, or if I
didn’t make it to my next football game. Or worse, living with
grave regret of taking another life or injuring someone for driving
irresponsibly. It changes the way I feel about my buddy’s brother
who was in a car accident and is now in a wheelchair for the rest of
his life.

greatest takeaway from taking the driving course, was the
understanding that all drivers have an obligation to be safe for
everyone on the road, including themselves. For any family to have
to hear such devastating news of a loved one dying from irresponsible
driving, would be the ultimate grief AND can easily be avoided if all
drivers were required to take a similar driving course every year for
the first 5 years of obtaining their driver’s license. After
sharing with a group of friends, we decided to make a pact to remind
each other to drive safe. I can only hope they stick to the pact, but
I plan to lead by example in hopes it’s contagious.

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