2012-08-02 / Letters

Time To Get Serious About Teenage Wreckless Driving

To The Editor:

A short time ago, the community lost two youngsters in a tragic accident near Wells Tannery. There is no question it was a total waste and no one can feel anything but gut-wrenching sorrow for the families.

We were all kids once and we too thoroughly believed it could never happen to us. We were bulletproof. Those who know about these things tell us the brain just hasn’t developed enough to understand that it can and does happen and that there are indeed terrible consequences. Regardless, another waste here will be if we can’t somehow find a way to drive the point home to at least one more kid.

There were two deterrents to my temptations toward bad behavior behind the wheel. The first was a very gory movie we were all forced to watch in driver’s ed. I’ll never forget it. “Signal 30” was an endless series of hideous crashes with a narrative of why they happened. Every time I thought about running a light or, passing another car, one of those bloody scenes would pop into my head. They were sobering, to say the least.

The movie was harsh. I suspect some would say too harsh in the current atmosphere of political correctness in education. But, it probably saved my hind parts. And that was the objective. That part of my brain being as developed as it’s ever going to get, I realize it really was like learning not to touch the red elements on the stove. It stuck with me.

The other thing that made me think a bit was that if I wanted a car, I had to buy it and make it roadworthy. While I was crawling around under that ’56 Olds convertible repairing or replacing about everything, I kept wondering how in Sam’s Hill that little piece or part kept the wheels on at 50 mph, let alone 100. When I was tempted to mash open that huge four barrel, I thought about that little part made by a fallible human and installed by a snot-nosed kid who just thought he knew everything.

Obviously, whatever we’re doing to soak it in now is not enough. As is the case with most problems that have gotten out of hand, we really need to get serious. Go overboard. Make the lesson too frightening to forget. Make it so real and so personal that it makes that kid worry for his or her safe return as much or more as their parents do. One youngster’s life is one far too many.

Bill Watson


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