Cars, Kids, & Catastrophes!
An 8-Year Old’s Joy Ride

Grand Theft Auto IRL…
featuring an 8-Year Old?!?


YouTube can teach people a lot of different things: cooking, gaming, music… even lock-picking!  If there’s a skill you would like to pickup, YouTube probably has a video about it!  Just because someone teaches you how to do something on YouTube, that doesn’t mean you should actually do it.

In Ohio, an 8-year-old boy (who is not identified by name due to his age) used YouTube to watch a video for people learning how to drive. After watching the video, he decided he was well prepared and decided to go out and try out his new skills. Unaware that he was doing something wrong, the rookie NASCAR driver invited his sister to tag along with him on a drive to McDonald’s.

Generally it is common knowledge that the legal age to drive is generally 16 years old throughout the United States.  Most people closer to that age know better and know not to get behind a wheel. However according to police, this little boy did not know any better, which led to his having a bit of an adventure in the driver’s seat of a car.

According to the boy’s statement, the parents had not been monitoring the situation, which iw what led to his being able to get ahold of their keys and bringing his little sister along for the joyride.

According to reports, the unnamed child-driver managed to steer the family car to a McDonald’s drive thru in search of a cheeseburger. When he arrived at the window, the employees were overcome with a combination of shock, laughter, and confusion as they saw a little boy driving a car with his little sister in the vehicle as well.

Police questioned the boy and had discovered his research into driving a car and that he did not know he was doing something wrong. Witnesses had even told the officers that the boy had driven  the 1.5 mile route perfectly and obeyed all traffic rules (well, except the fact that he was 8!).

Even though he lacked criminal intent and regardless of the fact that he drove the car well, the child still took his parents car without their knowledge.  As a result, he had placed his little sister and himself in grave danger.

Authorities have begun looking into violations relating to parenting and child protection laws. After all, how could two parents not notice their son take their keys, grab his sister, and then proceed to get in the car and drive away?  Although early reports did not point to child neglect, authorities planned to continue investigating to ensure they children are being raised in a safe


1: Whose fault is it? The boy who took the car? Or the parents who weren’t paying enough attention for him to be able to take it?

2: Had he been an adult without a license, should he have been arrested? Why or why not?

3: Should the boy have gone to juvenile hall and faced real consequences for choosing to break a rule? Why or why not?

4: If you broke a law that you didn’t know existed, should you still be charged normally or given a warning? Why or why not? 

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here::


Contributed by: Joseph Motta

Civics, Civics are Fun, Grand Theft Auto, I Can Haz Cheeseburger, IRL, Joyride, Kid Driver, Law Related Education, LRE, McDonalds, PBtR, Play By the Rules, Project REAL, Project REAL NV, Project Real Org, Uh Oh, Uh Oh Speghetti-ohs!,

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