There has been a huge outpouring of correspondence in relation to the letter in this column in the edition of Irish Country Living dated 23 October, ‘My teenage son drives too fast’, some of which I have already printed.
Although it is unusual for me to return to readers’ letters on a topic a second time, I felt the below contribution sent into me from a mother could not go unprinted.
I feel compelled to write to you with regard to the letter from a worried, stressed mother about her teenage son driving fast. There are two aspects of this I would like to comment on.
Firstly, this lady’s son is only 18, so where is he getting the money for petrol/diesel at the cost of it today, when wage earners are finding it hard to fill up their tanks with fuel so expensive?
He is probably a student and it wouldn’t be an offense if she only gave him the car when he had earned the price of the fuel.
At least if he has a car with an expense attached he may not then be in a position to rally around the countryside as he chooses. If he had a part-time job he would appreciate what he earns and how he spends it.
How about part-payment for tax, insurance, NCT and tyres. That’s a lesson in real life. If she doesn’t curtail him now she may live to regret it. The old saying goes, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Unfortunately Miriam I was that mother 20 something years ago. Our son, then a teenager, was driving too fast but like that mother we didn’t curtail his driving until it was too late. We had noted how fast he was driving and highlighted it with him, but to our regret we didn’t take the keys of the car and make him do a detention period.
Those friends and neighbours that are reporting this young lad are in fact doing him and his family a favour by doing so. It’s a wakeup call for the parents to take serious action before it’s too late.
I really don’t want to put further worry on this mother but the reality might well be our story, which is that our son had a very serious road traffic accident and sustained multiple injuries, including acquired brain injury which is life lasting and a huge burden on him, his relationships, his health and his life.
Having spent a year in hospital including rehab, he returned to life not as he once knew it, that young lad, full of life and feeling indestructible. What a change in a matter of seconds, flying high to fighting for his life.
It’s happening every other day and the consequences and devastation are left for the rest of our lives. These young lads are great when flying high, but the stark reality is very different.
When an accident happens they may be left seriously injured, be responsible for another person’s injuries or even death, as well as being left without choices, friends, the life they once were privileged to have and a lifelong burden on family.
Stop now before it’s too late.
It’s hard to say it, but there are situations worse than death for those coping with lifelong serious injury which could have been avoided, or even worse if a driver is responsible for someone else’s injuries or death.