Driving Mr. Newman

Ben Newman might be the only senior to earn his diploma before he’s earned his driver’s license. What gives?

By Ben Newman

Driving is what every teenager dreams of doing. Getting behind the wheel and cruising down the street. Having the freedom to go where ever you want whenever you want. Well here I am at age 18 and I still can’t drive. I moved here from Pennsylvania where the driving age is 16. So it was nice to know that in South Dakota the driving age is 14. My parents said that was not going to happen and I was going to have to wait until 16. The year of 16 passed then 17 and now I’m almost halfway done with my 18th year and still no license.

But while we all know the perks of driving, rarely has anyone considered the perks of not driving. Sure, driving gets you there faster, but there are other alternatives. Biking (alright, I only learned to ride a bike three years ago and don’t do it at all anymore), public transportation, which is a way to reduce your carbon footprint, and my personal favorite, walking, which allows you to get exercise and enjoy the nice weather. I’ve walked the 3.6 miles to my home from Central a few times when I didn’t have a ride, and my personal record is 1hr and 30min. Also think of all the money you could save by not driving. According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration the average American drives 13,476 miles per year. If the average car gets 27mpg, that would mean you use 499.11 gallons of gas in a year, and if the average price of gas per gallon is 2.08 you spend $1,038.15 per year on gas. So in my four years of not driving I’ve saved a little over $4,000.

Of course, while I’ve gone four years without driving, the real reason I don’t have my license yet is I have no motivation to go to the DMV and take the test. I guess now the challenge is to see how much of my life I can go without driving.

Lastly, I would like to give an appreciation shoutout/apology to all the people who have given me rides over the past four years and helped me save all that money. The people who deserve the most respect, in order, are Kaleb Hedman, Kylee Heintz, Quinten Glass, and Hunter Kiewel. I don’t know how you guys put up with me, from my forcing you to listen to oldies radio, to my making you drive out of your way for me, and my occasional hitting other cars with your doors. They’re not the only four, though. I’d like to thank anyone who has ever driven me anywhere. I hope that one day I will actually receive my driver’s license and can repay the favor. For now, though, I can only say thanks to the best friends in the world who drive me around.