Register Your Thoughts: Weekly Interview: Bruce Lapham (Printed Jan. 3, 2008): "Nearly every parent who has gotten into the car with their newly driver-permitted teenager has slammed their foot on the invisible brake, reached for the steering wheel or white-knuckled the dashboard.
Driving instructor Bruce Lapham just laughs.
Every day he climbs in the passenger seat with a student driver at the wheel.
“If everyone drove like student drivers, the insurance companies would be out of business,” he joked. “We are the only ones on the road driving the speed limit and stopping at stop signs. We’re the safest people on the road.”
Behind his desk in the classroom, Lapham leans back when he talks, and he laughs often. His nature is easy-going. A can of Spam is placed on the corner of his desk as a running joke.
Lapham took over Flanagan’s Driving School in Springvale a little more than 10 years ago.
At the time, he worked in the circulation department of a major newspaper and coached Babe Ruth baseball.
When those conditions are met and the student has reached the age of 16, the student may take the road test at the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles, but even after they have earned a license, they still aren’t off the hook.
“They are on a conditional license for six months,” Lapham said. “No friends in the car unless there is a licensed driver over the age of 20 who has had a license for two consecutive years and no handheld electronic devices until they are 18-years-old.”
He said the curfew law was a “no-brainer and didn’t cost a dime.”
“The curfew alone reduced accidents by 17 percent,” he said. “There is no reason for a teenager to be on the road between midnight and five in the morning.”
He said parents can “pull” a child’s driver’s license for “any reason whatsoever” and have it formally revoked by the state."