I was a pedestrian on a neighborhood street (no sidewalks in our neighborhood) shortly before sunset last night when I was approached by a four-wheeled vehicle coming toward me. I moved closer to the curb and got more cautious as I realized the vehicle — like the vehicles used to move equipment or injured players at football games — was being driven by a little girl, about 8 or 10 years old by my quick estimation. An adult was seated next to her, but she was at the wheel. Another child was in the cargo area behind the seats.
Although I was prepared to leap onto someone's lawn if the vehicle veered toward me, it passed by without incident and then came at me again in the next block. All the things that might go wrong in this scenario frightened me. The little driver could misjudge her distance from me or other pedestrians and knock them down; she might accidentally spin the steering wheel and plow into them; she might simply lose control of the gasoline-powered vehicle and do all sorts of property damage.
No police car happened by while I was within sight of the vehicle, but I began counting up all the violations a cop might issue to the young driver and the adult beside her:
° Driving an unregistered (no tag) vehicle on a public street;
° Driving without a license;
° Allowing an underage, unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle;
° Seat belt violations — at least the kid in the back was not belted; I couldn't tell whether the adult and child in the front were wearing seat belts or if the vehicle even had seat belts;
° Transporting an underage child in the open bed of a truck.
It must have been great fun for the two kids and for the man with them, but that fun flirts with disaster and tragedy. If you must let children drive a vehicle like this one, find a vacant parking lot where no one else is jeopardized, then hope nothing happens to injure those in the vehicle.