Saturday, October 23, 2004

Teenage Driving lately

In just one month's time, 15 young people have been killed in the Washington region, including a 3-year-old girl, in nine crashes involving teenage drivers. The first occurred Sept. 16, when a 16-year-old Vienna teenager smashed into a tree on a winding road while playing cat-and-mouse with another teenager. The ninth and most recent happened Oct. 17 on Interstate 95 in Virginia, when one passenger died after a 17-year-old girl lost control and rolled a Cadillac sport-utility vehicle filled with members of her rowing team. She had six passengers, more than she was allowed by Virginia law.
The Washington Post reports here about the last month's string of teenage driving accidents around DC. Two of these incidents happened with Howard county teenagers, including the one mentioned with the 3-year old girl mentioned above. Tragic.
Last weekend, while on the way to Helping Up Mission, one of the guys was telling me about a sleepover a dteam had the night before. One the way from a CpR outreach to the sleepver, two of the guys were goofing around having a mock drag race from a red light. Although they never broke the speed limit, a county cruiser pulled them both over, to the tune of $350 per car. Ouch. Apparently, the police in our area are being quite vigilant due to the accidents of late.
I can easily attest to the fact that when I was a high schooler, I drove like the people I looked up to. If the youthworkers that sacrificed their time for me drove like The Road Warrior, then it was okay for me to do too. And when I became a youthworker, the kids who saw me drive first hand eventually drove like that when they got their license too. It's a complex thing to be an example for the younger generation entrusted to us. And sometimes, we don't even realize the influence we have.

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