My son just turned 17 and got his license on his birthday. Here in NJ, the anxious kids get their permits as soon after they turn 16 when their parents realize the inevitable has approached, they shortly thereafter learn how to drive, they log in the required hours with a certified instructor, and the piece de resistance is being able to schedule their lesson for first thing in the morning the day of their birthday. That day the kids don’t care how early they have to wake up to get to the DMV. Then they proudly drive to school that day. So on this date of my son’s 17th birthday, he took the car to school after his successful driving test in the wee hours of the morning.
|Riley's first day with her new car|
School lets out at and he should have been home by the latest. Time passed and I kept looking at the time. It was . I called him on his cell and he did not answer. That made my nervous but then again I always tell my kids (my older son already drives) not to pick up a phone while they driving, even on Bluetooth. I tell them to pull over safely and answer if they think it’s important.
A few minutes later after convincing myself he was alright, he walked through the door. I ran to the door and gave him a big hug, then delivered the warning. “First thing you do is tell me where you are going and when you will be home!” He answered, “Tommy (his BFF) wanted to go cruising so we cruised around for a few minutes.” I replied, “That is fine but next time you have to tell me”.
In another household across the country, the same scenario played out in Riley’s house in
when she got her license on birthday (where the driving age is 16). Riley got a
car for her birthday, and after the celebration, she took it out for a ride.
This was every teen’s dream, freedom.
Riley was having a great week. Besides getting the freedom she yearned for, she was having some good luck with a boy she liked, Robbie. It was possible that he could become her boyfriend. So as she was out enjoying her first ride alone, Robbie was on her mind. Then, Robbie was on the phone. She knew this, because, like every teenager, the cell phone was in full view as she drove. She saw who the text was from. She knew she shouldn’t answer it. Her brain was telling her it could wait, but that teenage heart and that must-reply-instantaneously belief of the teen won out and she texted back.
Then the screen went blank. And her world was never the same.