This is worrisome.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, the number of fatal accidents involving unlicensed teenage drivers is rising.
Department director-general Suret Singh said of the 6,500 fatal road accidents involving cars and motorcycles in 2008, 41 per cent were unlicensed drivers between the ages of 15 and 25.
Last year, 16- and 17-year-olds made up 67 per cent of unlicensed drivers who died in car crashes.
He said his department was working with other government agencies to enforce laws on motorists.
Many of us, parents, at some point, have to deal with this problem with our teenaged kids.
Heck. Some of us, were probably that naughty teenager, once upon a time.
I suppose we can relate our teenage exploits with relish and laughter. We never got caught. And if we did get caught, nothing untoward came of it. All part of growing up, we tell ourselves.
Of course, some of us, remember our mischief with a chill down our spine. A tinge of regret, even. We were just so lucky nothing untoward happened.
What we did was wrong, we all agree.
There is really no difference between yesterday's teenagers and today's. Just as testerone-charged. Just as reckless. That devil-may-care attitude.
It's just that those days, in the 60s, or 70s, were a lot different. The roads were less harsh, less cruel. Drivers were not so crazed and manic. And no mat rempits, to speak of.
I have so many friends who have to deal with their teenaged kids (no lesen) sneaking out for the drive to the mamak shop to meet their "member", usually late at night or in the wee hours of the morning because the roads are traffic-free.
It is not the norm for parents to allow their underaged kids to drive.
The key/operative words here are "sneak out".
How hidden are your car keys? Under your pillow?
I mean, it is a universal problem. In Malaysia, the US, the UK, Australia. A parent's nightmare.
How do we deal with it?
I have no answer. But we have to deal with it and try our best to prevent that kind of situation where your underaged kid gets your car keys and sneak out, driving your car.
No parent wants that because ... oh...for obvious reasons. You know what they are.
So..take care of your (teenaged) kids.
I know. It's easier said than done.