Normally young people are the most logical candidates for driving lessons from a driver’s school. An older friend taught me how to drive when I was coming out of high school, but when he thought I was ready for my driver’s test he recommended I take some commercial driver school training. I took three hours, went for the test and aced it.
There are exceptions. My mother and an uncle learned to drive when they were in their fifties and each learned under the guidance of driver’s school instructors. My mother got her license but never drove. My uncle got his, bought a car and enjoyed the experience which came to him late in life.
There is another identifiable group of people who will undoubtedly benefit from a licensed driver’s school - government executives at all levels who enjoy the luxury of chauffeurs and government cars during their service. For many years in some cases, they are ferried everywhere and then one day they are on their own.
A reliable and knowledgeable source told me Mrs. Robert Mueller said when her husband left the FBI after 12 years, “The first thing we are going to do is get him some driving lessons. I’m not riding with him and the grandkids aren’t either.”
In 1975, Joseph L. Schott, a former FBI agent, wrote “No Left Turns” in which he told the story of J. Edgar Hoover riding in a chauffeured bureau car in Texas, and while making a left turn the car was almost hit by an oncoming vehicle. After Hoover returned to Washington, the Bureau sent out a notice to all Field Offices that when chauffeuring the director there was to be “no left turns.”
Hoover served for 42 years. Would you have ridden in a car driven by a man who wouldn't make a left turn?
Think of presidents, vice-presidents, cabinet officials, agency heads, leaders of Congress, senior military officers, and who knows who else, who haven’t been behind the wheel for years and one day they are out of office, back in private life, and the wife says, “Honey, drive down to the drug store and get a bottle of aspirin.”
Government officials worldwide are just like Americans. They could use refresher driver training. In Nixon’s memoirs, he told the story about Soviet President Brezhnev driving at Camp David.
"He got behind the wheel and motioned me into the passenger seat. The head of my Secret Service detail went pale as I climbed in and we took off down one of the narrow roads that run around the perimeter of Camp David….
At one point there is a very steep slope with a sign at the top reading, 'Slow, dangerous curve'….
Brezhnev was driving more than 50 miles an hour as we approached the slope. I reached over and said, 'Slow down, slow down,' but he paid no attention. When we reached the bottom there was a squeal of rubber as he slammed on the brakes and made the turn….
'You are an excellent driver,' I replied. 'I would never have been able to make that turn at the speed at which we were traveling.'
Diplomacy is not always an easy art.”
At the state level, there are officials starting with the governor and the lieutenant governor and other state office holders who serve for years and ride in chauffeured cars. One day they will find themselves on their own.
In the private sector, there are also thousands of executives - men and women - who would benefit from driver’s training after they leave the company and no longer have the privileged perk of being chauffeured.
The late William F. Buckley, founder, and editor of National Review rode to work daily from his home in Connecticut to his office in Manhattan in the back seat of a chauffeured stretch limousine so he could work en route. If Buckley had decided to drive one day, would Mrs. Buckley have ridden with him?