When our oldest son got his driver's license almost three years ago, we upgraded one of our vehicles and provided him with our oldest one to drive. At the time it didn't exactly qualify as a clunker, but it ran a little noisy and in some spots it was losing the inevitable northern country battle with rust. And at least one tire always seemed have a slow leak.

    When our oldest son got his driver's license almost three years ago, we upgraded one of our vehicles and provided him with our oldest one to drive. At the time it didn't exactly qualify as a clunker, but it ran a little noisy and in some spots it was losing the inevitable northern country battle with rust. And at least one tire always seemed have a slow leak.

    He's off at college now with a less-clunky vehicle, and our family has passed down to our youngest son, who just got his license, the now considerably clunkier vehicle his older brother formerly drove.

    Obviously, it's not the most technically advanced vehicle. The first thing our youngest son did on that glorious day when he first settled in behind the wheel as an officially licensed driver was buy an adapter so he could play songs on his iPhone through the vehicle's factory stereo. I came home from work that afternoon and he was parked in the driveway with his head down, and I immediately assumed he was sitting there texting, Snapchatting, Instagramming, or whatever.

    The vehicle was idling, so I waited for him to shut it off and exit. I figured, even though he wasn't actually operating a moving vehicle, it would be an opportune time to hammer home once again the absolute intolerance his parents have for any distracted driving he might consider partaking in. We're not about to pretend that either one of our sons is an angel, no matter what behaviors we're talking about, but when it comes to communicating via their phones while they're driving, we'd like to think we have instilled an enhanced degree of intensity in both of our sons when it comes to our white-hot hatred for distracted driving.

    Turns out, our youngest son was simply hooking up his iPhone radio adapter, and he needed to have the car on while doing so.

    I'm obsessed with distracted driving, so much so that I'm probably distracted at least somewhat myself as I drive around and incessantly attempt to spot other motorists behind the wheel with their heads down. "Get off your damn phone!" I typically yell in my vehicle. If they could hear me, the suspected distracted drivers would probably yell back, "Stop watching me and watch the damn road, you hypocrite!"

    They’d be right, because I'm one to talk. While I don't stare at my phone while I'm driving, I have recently become the poster child for a new kind of distracted driving, a strain of distraction behind the wheel brought on by operating a newer vehicle with so many technological and communication capabilities that my head twirls on a swivel and for a couple of seconds here and there it seems like I forget I'm even driving.

    The pickup is basically a massive metal computer on wheels...a mobile entertainment and communication system, and I’m the human dope behind the wheel trying to keep it all straight. It’s its own mobile wireless hotspot. It charges wireless devices without having to plug them into anything. There’s so much constantly changing data on the “Driver Information” screen in the instrument panel, I find myself obsessed with the variations in the pickup’s fuel economy/gas mileage from second to second, so I stare at the interactive digital readout instead of the road. Do I want to play my favorite song playlist on my iPhone? Or am I in the mood for some Pandora Radio? Or should I justify my subscription to Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and scroll through some of my saved "favorite" stations? Oh, I'm getting a phone call? A text? Well, answer it, I tell my pickup, and soon I'm partaking in so-called "hands-free" communication via phone calls and back-and-forth texting conversations.

    But is my mind as free as my hands, which are able to grasp the steering wheel instead of tapping on a phone screen? I doubt it. My mind is fully occupied, and the more I ponder it, I don’t think I dare attach percentages to how much of my mind is focusing on the task at hand - driving - and how much is concentrating on what song I want to hear next or who happens to be calling me or texting me. The ratio might make me a little queasy.

    I’ve long thought that if a new teen driver is going to be lucky enough to be provided some wheels, those wheels better not be too nice. The vehicle should be reasonably safe and in decent running order, but no teenager should ever be given a vehicle considerably nicer than what most of his friends’ parents drive. You’re just tempting karma, and why spoil kids more than they already are?

    Yes, let the kids drive clunkers. And if they’re tempted to use their phones while driving, let them eternally fear the merciless wrath of their wonderfully obsessive anti-distracting driving parent crusaders.