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Cars are Dangerous

Published Sep 1st 2007, 5:41pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Ap_car_surfing2 I started my professional career more than 20 years ago as a typesetter working for Guns & Ammo Magazine. Quite frequently, when people heard where I worked, the group would divide into a pro-firearms/anti-gun debate, in which I was often accusingly asked "Would you have a gun in your house with children?!" My response was, "Well, I have car keys, bleach, and kitchen knives."

My opinion on sidearms notwithstanding, the point I was trying to make is that any object can be deadly, especially in the hands of children. I've heard waaaay too many stories from peers who told me that as teenagers they had snuck out of their houses and 'borrowed' their parent's car to go cruising. (So unsafe: inexperienced drivers out late at night with their friends as distractions!)

Many states now enforce different types of graduated drivers licensing (GDL) laws to phase in expanded driving privileges for new drivers during their first 12 to 18 months of unsupervised driving. GDL laws prohibit critical distractions and give new drivers more time to focus on their driving and learn how to handle unexpected driving situations.

Ap_car_surfing1 Unfortunately, no amount of driver's education or graduated licensing can compensate for teaching your children to make good judgements, especially behind the wheel. The reason for this (probably too long) diatribe is this recent, very sad, headline:

"Mother Hopes Son's Car-Surfing Death Saves Lives." The mother of a teenage boy who died from massive head injuries he received while car surfing wants her son's death to be a lesson to other young people. Apparently, her son tried to ride on top of an SUV, and fell onto the pavement when he was trying to climb back in through the window of the moving sport-utility vehicle.

"Please don't let my son die in vain," said Tonya Rodriguez. "Learn something from his mistake. Think before you act. Don't do these stunts."

My heart breaks for this woman, whose son is gone because of a stupid teenage impulse to do something extremely dangerous. My heart also aches for the young person who was driving that car, and for the passengers who were there to either egg him on or persuade him to stop. That is a terrible burden to carry on one's conscience from such an early age.

Parents: Please support graduated licensing programs and engage in healthy dialog with your young drivers about what is safe and not safe while behind the wheel. In the hands of a careless or distracted teenager, a car is just as dangerous as a gun.

by Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor

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