In no hurry to drive

Jordan Brewington ’13 can join the military, vote and buy cigarettes, but she can’t drive.

Brewington took driving lessons and got her permit on time in 2010 at 15 and a half, but her mother wouldn’t teach her how to drive. As a result, she didn’t get her license in the allotted one year and her permit expired.

“It’s one of the reasons I don’t go to the gym that much,” Brewington said. “Even though it’s walking distance from my house, I’d rather drive. Basically, it made me fat.”

Brewington will be going off to college in less than six months and doesn’t see herself getting a license at this point, describing it as having “no point.”

“I wish I could drive,” Brewington said, and she regrets not getting her license but said it doesn’t affect her social life.

“I really would like to be able to go to Jamba Juice when I want,” she said.

In order to get to school, Brewington has her mom drive her, takes the bus or has friends drive her. She also attributes the fact that she didn’t have a car, nor was going to get one, to the reason why she did not get her license.

Alisha Bansal ’14 didn’t get a driver’s license until 10 months and 22 days after she was eligible to get it. And she wouldn’t have gotten it that day either if her father had not scheduled her behind-the-wheel driving test without telling her. A few hours later, she walked out of the office of the Department of Motor Vehicles with a license to drive.

“I wasn’t [mentally prepared for driving], I was so frightened by the thought of it.”

Bansal could have gotten her permit in May of ninth grade, but delayed it until March of her tenth grade year. It was another seven months until she got her license.

“My parents told me that even if I choose not to drive, I should still just have my permit and my license, just to have it,” she said.

However, despite getting her permit so late, Bansal doesn’t feel like being able to drive has really made that much of a difference in her life, so much so that she forget she has her license sometimes.

“I still just don’t drive, I don’t really have a need to. My parents can drive and I don’t see the point of driving if I don’t have to,” she said.

Bansal takes the bus to school from her home in Chatsworth, which takes her over an hour in travel time, and although travel time may be reduced if she drove, she would still have to leave the house at the same time to beat traffic, she said.

“If I were to drive [to school], I would be way too tired to do it every single day and I think that would be dangerous and one more thing I would have to worry about,” she said.

Bansal said she recognizes that living so far away and not being able to drive does affect her social life to a certain extent, but it doesn’t keep her from getting out of the house.

“I do still go places – I’m not a hermit…[getting my license] hasn’t changed my life that much, but I can see how it could change someone else’s,” she said.

Caroline Moreton ’14 faced a similar situation after almost running out of time to take her behind-the-wheel test.A provisional permit expires one year after its issue and Moreton took her test thirty-one days before her permit would have expired.

“I didn’t really care as long as I got it eventually, and it didn’t really matter if it was strictly on time,” she said.

She also found it difficult to find time to do her driving lessons with an instructor.

“Once I got my permit, I only took the first driving lesson and then I got so busy that I didn’t have time to schedule the other lessons so I kept having to push back the test,” she said.

Tommy Choi ’14 passed his permit test, after taking it for a second time, this past June eight months later than he was eligible to do so.

“My parents didn’t let me get it at the beginning,” he said. “They let me get it this spring, but I didn’t have time so I got it at the beginning of the summer.”

Choi said he doesn’t really regret not getting his permit on time because he doesn’t find time to go out much as a result of the pressures of junior year.He said he does regret not being able to go places whenever he has down time and wants to.

“Getting places would be significantly easier if I had my license, but even though it would be nice, I’ve been lazy and not pursued getting it anyways,” Choi said.

Choi plans on getting his license during spring break, or during a break sometime around that time.

“Driving is just a benefit, but not necessary,” he said.

Sophie McAllister ’13 received her learner’s permit two weeks ago, after being eligible for over two years.

“I actually started the Driver’s Ed course on time, about two years ago, but it was really tedious and it was during the school year, so I stopped doing it because I didn’t have time,” McAllister said.

McAllister hopes to get her license this winter, or by summer, but definitely wants to get it before she goes off to college next fall.

“It was a pain [not to have a license] when I did an internship at USC, which is an hour and half from my house,” she said. “It would also be useful so I could leave early after school. My friends always ask me when I’m going to get it. They can’t believe I’ve waited so long, they think it’s ridiculous.”

Bansal has had similar conversations with friends who give her a hard time about getting her license late, she said.

“People tell me, ‘oh that’s really dumb, you should have gotten it on time,’ but for me personally, it didn’t matter if I drove or not,” Bansal said.

“Since I’m one of the older ones in the grade, some people wanted me to get a license so I could drive them around a year later once the restrictions were lifted. It can get a little annoying. I feel like people don’t always realize that it’s a personal choice and I think people should wait until they are ready.”

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