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Editor's Notebook

In The Driver’s Ed Seat


Hi. My name is Jimmy, and I’m filling in for Dad this month.
He asked me to write his column for him, so this becomes my Father’s Day gift – apparently he didn’t think a card was enough. With all the work he tells me he does, and the baseball coaching and stuff around the house, he said he needed a break. Besides, I didn’t want to cut the grass.
But what I want to say is important to me and other kids my age. I’m 15, and in just a couple of months I will start learning how to drive. That’s a pretty big deal to me and my parents – Dad’s been mumbling something about extra insurance for the past few weeks.
As you know, Dad works on this magazine. He takes a lot of pride in it, and kind of takes it personal when something bad happens, like the recall last year. I heard him and Mom talking about it a lot at the dinner table, and they discussed how people just don’t take good care of their tires and like to blame everyone else when they have problems.
Well, one thing I found out is that in driver’s ed, no one teaches us anything about cars or tires or how to take care of them. They just teach us to drive.
Learning the right way and the safe way to drive is important. Dad is really nervous about this whole thing, and says he’s going to send me to a good driving school some day to learn how to handle a car. I hope he does, because that would be cool. Then again, he’s also said something about drinking more. I’m not sure what that’s all about.
But I was thinking about it and I don’t understand why the driver’s education programs don’t teach kids how to take care of their cars and tires. My dad says when he was younger, his dad taught him about cars. At least a little. And he learned a lot from his job. But Dad says it’s really different today because cars are more complicated. I’m not so sure he really knows how they work now.
I know driving is supposed to be a lot of responsibility. And to be a responsible driver you have to really learn the right things to do and when to do them. But how can people be responsible and take care of their tires and cars if no one teaches them the what to do?
Most kids my age don’t take shop class in school. I guess a lot of schools don’t even offer it anymore. So we don’t get a chance to know how an engine works or anything like that.
Dad says (well, he told me to say) that tire dealers really know everything about tires. I guess that’s true. And a lot of you fix cars. So I was thinking it would be a good idea for you to get more involved teaching kids like me all about cars and tires.
Our school district doesn’t teach driver’s ed anymore, so we have to go to a private driving school. But I think a lot of school districts still offer driver’s ed. Either way, maybe you could find a way to work with the schools or the private companies and teach a class on car and tire maintenance.
I think it would be a great idea because first you would be teaching important things to the next generation of drivers, especially how to take care of your tires – which I know is important. You would also be promoting your own business to a new group of people who will need to get their cars fixed and buy tires. Not to mention their parents, who would probably appreciate you teaching their children. (Dad told me to say that, too.)
Maybe some of you already do this, and I think that’s good. But I know most of my friends’ parents are always busy with work or family things so they don’t have a lot of time to teach their kids. I’m not too sure how much they really know about cars and tires anyway.
So, think about it. I think it’s a good idea, and I know a lot of people my age want to learn more about how a car works and how to take care of their tires.
My dad will be back next month. I’m going to kick him off the couch now and see if he wants to go look at cars with me.
Thanks for listening, I mean, reading. 

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PS: If you see a kid in a competition yellow Viper driving around, it might be me. If I can get Dad to buy a Viper.

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