I couldn't wait to get my driver's licence.
It meant freedom, independence and it gave me a sense of being an adult.
Turning 15 and getting a learner's licence was a rite of passage for my peers and me.
The New Zealand Road Code was studied and hours were spent in the family car practising driving up and backing down the driveway. I once got a Morris 1300 wedged between two buildings trying to do a three-point turn.
However, I don't believe, knowing what I do now, that everyone at that age was ready for the huge responsibility of driving on our roads.
It is an enormous thing when you think about it.
Not only do you have your own life in your hands, but the lives of countless other road users.
This week we reported there have been 19 deaths in the Bay of Plenty policing area which includes Taupō, Tokoroa and Putaruru.
There were eight deaths in the Western Bay, three more than at the same time last year — despite us being in a nation-wide lockdown.
These deaths are needless, preventable and tragic.
Police are continually pushing safe driving messages — slow down, belt up, stay alert — but how do we make them stick?
Perhaps we need to rethink how we educate our drivers.
Right now, we issue licences and leave people to it for 10 years.
Enforcement and education need to go hand-in-hand.
Do older drivers need refresher courses?
Do we start our road safety education earlier?
How do we punish people who break the rules?
It's time we think about a new approach because what we're seeing now is not working and people are still dying.