Friday, April 13, 2007

When is the government going to realize that teenage kids should not be driving cars??

Yesterday afternoon seemed like a normal day, my wife left our house at right around 3:30 PM to walk the few blocks to the bus stop to pick up our 6-year old daughter. She and our 3-year old do this every Tuesday and Thursday, and there are always a lot of kids around after the bus leaves, playing and chatting. I have pasted a map here that shows the streets, and the bus stop is marked with the dot.

So on this day, seconds after my wife collected our daughter, an idiot kid came SCREAMING up Chalmers in a white minivan. We don’t know for sure how fast he was going, but my wife saw him and said she thinks he was going well over 100 KM/Hr. So as this jackass tears up the road, he completely loses control of the car, skids into a tree, jumps the curb, and then the car does a complete rotation while spinning ACROSS the sidewalk, taking out everything in its path! The route the idiot followed and the final placement of the car is shown here in red:

Now on most days, my wife and kids walk home by going up Chalmers to Mohawk, and then up Mohawk, so as you can see by the path this kid took, he put that car right through the sidewalk where they usually walk, at the EXACT time they usually walk it. By some miracle yesterday they went the opposite way and so were standing safely on the opposite corner when this jackass obliterated the route they are normally on.

All this time I was working away in my basement office, and I remember glancing at the clock, seeing it was 4:10 PM and wondering why it was taking the family so long to get home from the bus. Never imagining for one minute what might have just occurred I figured they were just stopping along the way to play with some of the neighborhood kids.

When my wife got home and told me the story, she realized that since she saw the whole thing she should probably go and give the police a statement, so we went back. I cannot describe to you the feeling I had seeing the tire tracks right through the exact spot where my family usually is.

To make matters worse, I saw the kid who did this standing over by the police cars with his mother. He is s typical young punk with an attitude, and we observed him laughing with one of his buddies, and then when he caught one of the neighborhood kids looking at him, he actually give this kid the “flip off” with his middle finger! The mother also proved herself to be an idiot, not offering one word of apology or show of remorse to the gathered parents standing there contemplating how close they came to losing some children that day.

My comment on this is that sometimes I walk to the bus with my wife, and I am very happy I wasn’t here yesterday because if I had been, I would have dragged that little jackass out of the car and beaten him to within an inch of his life, and then in a twist of irony I am sure I would have been the one arrested!

To top it off we found out where idiot-stick was speeding off to…to pick up his 7-year old sister from school! Sadly this kid was not hurt himself, and since he is a minor I am sure the consequences of his actions will be negligible, however the consequences to my family or any of the other families who use that bus stop could have been enormous.

So back to the title of this article, when is the government going to realize teenage kids should not be driving? Driving a car is an enormous responsibility that too many people take far too casually. A car is a multiple-thousand pound hunk of metal, propelled by extremely powerful engines. It’s not a toy, it’s a killing machine and most teenagers simply do not have the maturity to handle it.

In another example of this when we moved to this neighborhood a few years ago, there was a kid who was speeding up and down our street one day. I walked up the street and had a word, and I got the typical teenager blow off “yeah yeah, whatever”. The kid did stop speeding on our street, but then not 2 nights later he crashed while racing on another street, killing himself and his passenger, who just happened to be a kid living on our street. The only positive that came out of this tragedy is that this kid did not kill anyone of the family in the mini-van that they crashed into while racing.

We have all seen teenagers speeding through our streets, getting arrested for racing, causing accidents, etc. yet NOTHING is done to raise the driving age! I wouldn’t trust the average 16 year old with a loaded gun, so why does the government insist on letting these kids get behind the wheel of a car??

Why, in our society do the brilliant powers-that-be decree a kid shouldn’t drink alcohol until they are 19, but, by all means, go get behind the wheel of a killing machine at 16? In my opinion the change that needs to happen is to lower the drinking age to 16, and raise the driving age to 25! Who cares if a bunch of kids want to stagger around drunk, that’s a hell of a lot safer than watching them speed down suburban streets at breakneck speeds.

We can only hope that sooner or later the government gets a clue and raises the driving age. For now we are going to petition the city to put in a stop sign at that intersection – not many teenage drivers I see pay attention to stop sings anyway –and hope that this never happens again.