Underage drivers can be dangerous

Officer Dale Powers, APD CrimeStoppers
Officer Dale Powers, APD CrimeStoppers

by Larry Lemmons
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Underage drivers pose a threat to other drivers as well as to themselves.

We've seen over the past year a few stories about underage kids who've had accidents sometimes resulting in death.  Those are stories that are reported.

You might be surprised to learn what happens that isn't reported. Officer Dale Powers of CrimeStoppers says,  "When I was working as a school liaison officer at a couple of middle schools here in Amarillo, we'd see it tow or three times a week. Where, you know, an eighth grader would drive to school and they'd maybe dropped the younger kids off at elementary school prior to that and then pick them up after school."

Keith Wormsbaker is a driving instructor for the RoadRunner Driving School in Amarillo. He's taught driving for 48 years. He says young people don't always recognize danger. "I think people see other people driving and they think it's easy. And in my opinion driving's not hard but the hard part is trying to figure out what everybody else is going to do."

Sonia Lopez letus tag along on her driving instruction. There are common mistakes inexperienced drivers make."  Allen Mullins of Road Runner Driving School says, "When we go through a green light we want the kids sweeping the light because we don't want to get        T-boned from a car that runs a red light so to speak."

Police say parents may not realize there are liabilities and certainly penalties if their underage child drives illegally.  Officer Powers says, "What a lot of parents don't realize they can be issued a citation for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive. so not only does the kid get the citation but the parent gets a citation."