Anyone over the age of 25 living in an urban area needs to re-take the driving test.
At age 16, I was an outstanding driver. Really. Other than the second day of my permit, when I took a lefthand turn into oncoming traffic, panicked, went over a curb, popped a tire and came thisclose to a telephone pole, I was phenomenal. I learned all of the rules. I knew who yielded to whom on roundabouts, the proper order at a 4-way stop, when U-turns were ok, how not to hydroplane, when to use fog lights vs. high beams, what BAC was considered above the legal limit (and how bad that was) and - above all - how to parallel park my SUV into the tightest of spots.
While the parallel parking never actually came into play in Baldwinsville, NY that often/ever, I took pride in having that skill, and all the others, in my back pocket when needed.
13 years later, all those skills in my back pocket have been run through the washer/drier one too many times and are faded to oblivion. Based on how everyone else is driving, the same thing has happened to the majority of drivers…and we can’t blame this all on texting at the wheel.
I’m not sure what happened to the rest of the morons driving, but I blame the initial degradation of my driving skills on going to college in Boston, and never coming home over the summers. That’s 4 straight years of walking, T-ing and cabbing, and 4 straight years of never sitting on the driver’s side. It’s been a bit since then, but I can’t say that my skills have returned to where they once were. Now that I actually need to parallel park daily, I’m miserably hit or miss at it. Was it the front of the car being aligned with the other car’s front seat, or something with the mirrors? No idea. I rocked that formula in the driver’s ed Crown Vic, but it’s so gone now. I have no idea what order the 4-way stops go, and even if I did it wouldn’t matter. The more aggressive car is going to go first, and if there’s an accident, the lawsuit will favor the driver with the better lawyer. Real talk. U-turns are my favorite traffic move (I don’t wear my glasses as much as I should so I pass a lot of things - separate issue), and I couldn’t tell you when I’ve performed them legally vs. terribly.
All of this is mildly amusing, but when multiplied by EVERY DRIVER IN LA, it’s brutally dangerous.
So here’s the deal: we need a government-mandated driver’s re-test every 10 years. If you fail (which most of us will), you have to take mandatory driver’s ed. Again. Not on the internet, oh no no. In that awful driver’s ed car with the “STUDENT DRIVER” sticker and the break pedal on the passenger’s side. Horrific images from drunk driving accidents should be brought up in the classroom sessions too. I think we could all use a review.
This is going to solve so many problems. Carpooling will be at an all-time high with all the road test failures: you’re welcome, environment. Public transportation will have to improve, because more voters will need it (oh PS, LA: a subway from the tourist center of Hollywood to the tourist center of downtown doesn’t actually count as something that improves residents’ lives). The number of cyclists will increase markedly, putting a small dent in the obesity problem. And, bonus, much like in high school, driver’s ed is going to be another great singles mixer!
So, government, I leave it to you on how to enforce this and pay for it, but you’re welcome for yet another brilliant idea. Since I came up with it, I just want to confirm that I do not need to participate in this new regulation. Much appreciated.