Monday, August 3, 2009

Nascar Moves & the Sad Results

I’m scared. I’m scared for the young people that I know. They seem to be disappearing at a more alarming rate than I remembered from other years. It’s like there’s an epidemic.

In March, a woman (age 47) in Roseville was driving drunk, hits a median, goes airborne and slams her van into a car full of teens (aged 15-19). All four kids are killed.

In June, a carful of five teens (aged 14-19) tried to beat a 530 ton Amtrack train, swerving around another car and the gates that were lowered to beat it…but lost. All five kids were killed.

In July, a car of three teens (aged 18-19) were tearing down the road at 100mph, turned into a subdivision, clipped a man on a riding lawnmower, and slammed into a brick wall. Neighbors & witnesses say there were no braking sounds, just squealing tires and an explosion. All three kids were killed.

That same week, a Detroit woman was driving her and her three kids (aged 2-10) on the Ohio Turnpike, took a turn to fast, hit a car then hit the median, the force of it causing the three kids to be ejected from her car. Two were killed.

In July (about a week or so before the first July accident) a 27 year old man was driving on the newly finished freeway, when he took a turn, allegedly going 70 mph instead of the recommended 50 (per the speed signs) and hit a tanker, causing a huge explosion that melted the concrete bridge, and caused over $5 million in damages. He is contesting his speeding ticket. He had his license for five months.

A few weeks ago, my 17 year old cousin was driving at 1am, took a turn too fast and flipped her car twice. The officer told my uncle that by the looks of the car, no one would have survived that crash. Her car was totaled. She doesn’t have a scratch on her. She is the luckiest girl I know.
When you look at reckless driving (driving drunk, driving too fast, etc) all of the evidence points directly at disaster. Within 5 months, Metropolitan Detroit lost 12 kids to reckless driving. I’m telling you…we have an epidemic on our hands. We need to ensure that we continue to stress how important it is to be a careful driver. Impressing friends with your “Nascar moves” is not nearly as impressive as showing them that you care by driving cautiously.

It’s hard to blame the kids in the cars that died. However, these tragic accidents would not have happened if those driving had not been reckless. I think that there is something to be learned here, something to prevent terrible accidents like this in the future. I think that we need to take a deeper look at how quickly we give our kids the responsibility of driving a 3,000plus pound car. How easily we trust them to make smart and safe decisions while behind the wheel of a monstrous vehicle…in the company of their friends. We should revamp our drivers education program for those who opt to wait until their 18 and can currently just take a test to get their license. We need to make sure that young and new drivers fully understand the consequences of reckless & risky driving.

This is not something that is just up to the police or the Secretary of State. As these tragedies affect the community at large, it is also the community’s responsibility to help teach the young & the new the safeties of driving. We are all called to action, however, it is up to us to decide whether or not we want to answer. We need to seize the teachable moments, and make them worth something. If we don’t, then we will have to learn with knowing that we could’ve prevented a tragic accident.

1 comment:

  1. Well said!!! I couldn't agree with you more!