The future comes, it always does and like King Canute who tried to turn back the tide, there is nothing we can do to prevent it. The march of time is inexorable. Vehicles become ever more complicated and if Carl Benz could see now the wave he started in 1879 he wouldn't recognize it.
Today's vehicles are powerful, comfortable and filled with all sorts of safety systems. A mistake in the technological marvels we drive today doesn't cause a loss of control as it would have back in the 60's because the old cars didn't have computers watching for skids and rolls and a dumb action by incompetent drivers. It follows then that drivers back then were better than today where drivers are unaware that a computer just saved them from skidding out of control.
If a modern driver pushes their vehicle too far, perhaps to a point beyond the control of even the computers, their ability to recover will probably fall far short of what is needed; so we have an accident. Even now technology takes over and protects the driver, deploying airbags automatically.
I believe that if today's drivers were to go back in time to the cars we drove in the 60's there would be far more accidents and fatalities in that time than were recorded because our teens don't have the same skills that we developed back in the day.
So what has gone wrong? Simple, we have made driving a whole lot easier and we have passed on to our children all the bad habits we have developed since we learned to drive.
"Why didn't you stop?" Asked the Officer. "Didn't you see the Stop Sign?"
"Oh I saw it Officer and I did what my Dad told me to do when he taught me to drive."
"What did he tell you?" the Officer asked with a frown.
"He told me that when I come to a 'Yield' I had to slow down and make sure nothing was coming. For a 'Stop Sign' I had to slow down and be REALLY sure nothing was coming."
I read a sign on a Missouri Interstate recently, "Car Crashes are the Leading Cause of Teen Deaths". Do we just accept that as a fact and live with it or do we try to do something to reduce the number to a point where perhaps the sign would read, "Skateboards are the Leading Cause of Teen Injuries".
To begin with we, as a responsible society have to intervene and demand better instruction for new road users. It's all well and good for parents to teach our youngsters to drive but are they qualified? I mean really qualified? If they were to take their driving test right now would they easily pass or would they scrape by with a few pointers from the examiner? Come to that would any of us?
I have been driving (or riding) for a long time and I openly admit I have developed some bad habits. For example, turning the steering wheel is supposed to be a push/pull operation, not a hand over hand or flat of the hand circular motion. Of late I have been trying to break the bad habit but it is taking a long time and I find myself slipping often and mentally chastising myself.
It's time to require qualified educators to teach kids how to drive safely. That doesn't mean keeping Ma and Pa out of the teaching business, but they have to be qualified to do it first.