By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
One of our cute granddaughters called recently with a very important request from a teenager’s perspective. She was facing her 17th birthday without a driver’s license.
She asked to borrow my compact SUV to practice driving and to use in her road skills test.
Of course, I said “yes” but I was curious about why she was not using one of the three vehicles owned by her immediate family. Her explanation was simple and to the point:
“Papaw, I’m just too short to either reach the pedals or see over the hood of our cars and Dad’s pickup truck.”
At just over five feet tall, I knew she was right and I told her that I was proud of her awareness of her safety and for that of other motorists. And I’m proud to report that she passed her road skills test on the first try.
Later, as I reflected on her accomplishment, I realized I hadn’t given much thought to the driver licensing system since our youngest child, now 36, finally made it through.
As I was growing up in Carter County years ago, those road tests were given by uniformed troopers. I didn’t impress anyone with my driving since it took me four attempts to pass. As I remember, they were very picky about little mistakes, like me running a stop sign, gently sideswiping a parked car and driving too fast on Main Street.
My dear departed mother was a state social worker who spent more than 30 years trying to help others. She drove her car daily on the job but one year forgot to renew her driver’s license. She was ticketed at a routine roadblock.
Not to worry, she decided to take a road test the next week. She calmly drove herself to the courthouse to take the test. She was shocked when the trooper failed her on the spot for driving without a license. At that point, she also had to take the written test.
Another trooper told me about a legendary bad driver who failed the test so many times they lost count. On his last test, the test administrator said the fellow drove his car through a red light, clipped a parked car, and killed a stray dog coming up the courthouse hill.
Shouldn’t driver test administrators qualify for hazardous duty pay?
Keith Kappes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org