Dear Auto Design Engineers,

Cars have come a long way in the last couple of decades. Safety has improved, and who’d have thought we could have our very own GPS and satellite radio? Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m almost to the Jetsons stage!

While I’m sure you work very hard to integrate really cool stuff into your designs, it’s clear to me that none of you spend any amount of time driving teenagers around. You’re hard at work, I know. I was an engineer’s kid, and I know how many hours you put in, so please allow me to make a couple of suggestions.

You know the window behind the limo driver? The one that goes up and down? The one that blocks out noise? I want one in my van. Teens are loud. They don’t necessarily mean to be, but teens are, at heart, large toddlers. They won’t throw sippy cups at each other, but they will yell at the person sitting fifteen inches away.

An integrated air filtration system would be nice, too. Sometimes the only warning we get of less than pleasant odors is the untying of a shoe lace or a smothered hysterical giggle. It’s hard to get the windows open fast enough in cases like that, and sometimes it’s raining. Or snowing. Not fun. Of course, the limo driver window would also be handy in those situations, as long as the kids open their windows for oxygen. Would that be manslaughter or suicide if they suffocate in the back seat?

Some sort of surveillance system might be helpful, too. Not cameras, necessarily, but maybe something more like a motion sensor/electric fence combination for the back seat. I was a teen once. I know what can go on in back seats, and I’m too young to be a grandma. A little electric prod, or even a squirt gun, might be just the thing to adjust the mood. It should probably have a secret shut-off feature. Wouldn’t it be a drag to be on a road trip sans kids, stretch out in the back seat for a little nap, and get jolted?

I know these innovations could cause potential liability issues, but I have confidence that anything you can’t work out, the corporate lawyers will be able to handle. Isn’t that what warning labels are for?

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