Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waste

It's been a terrible week, as our community has struggled with trying to come to terms with a horror crash which caused the deaths of 3 people, and extremely serious injuries to 2 others. Two of the dead were teenagers, 17 and 16, and the driver of the other car, a 44 year-old father of 3, also died.

Such pointless and meaningless deaths. Why is it that in spite of all of the "driver education" programs in schools and in public forums such as magazines and television, some youg people still think they are bullet-proof?

Coincidentally, a new report was released this week about the people who cause crashes - but it didn't tell us anything new or surprising. 

I strongly believe that the driving age here in New Zealand is too low - at 15 they can get their Learner's License, then there are 2 further stages before they get a full license. On checking the net I found that there are a few countries where the minimum age is 16, and a couple of US states where it is 15.  Most countries have a far more sensible 18 or 17. Ours should be raised.

"Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up.  I hope 
to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to 
just dump me in the river or something.  Anything except 
sticking me in a goddam cemetery.  People coming and 
putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, 
and all that crap.  Who wants flowers 
when you're dead?  Nobody."
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

8 comments:

  1. In 1986 when we moved to this valley every couple of weeks there was a reported teen death due to driving intoxicated or on drugs... my daughter lost a few friends.. then the district came up w/a program called "Every 15 min." the cost is $150k because it involves the police,and other depts. to put on this program.. It involves seniors, the school picks out certain students w/permission from parents to pick out victims, the ones who cause the accident, and an assembly is put on parents are invited of the dead victims... Pareents play a part in writing their child's obituary.. The one who causes the accident sees what lock up is like as well as sees the process... It turned the kids around.. I haven't seen a memorial marking after that program was implemented... The young age they allow kids to drive plus the involvement of parents makes a difference... Here, the area is affluent.. Kids are given expensive cars... need I say more? spoiled... Its a shame they have to learn the hard way... I am so sorry for your town's loss... We dealt w/it a long time ago and its horrible...

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  2. I am sorry for the shocking loss.
    When I was 11, 6 teenagers from the high school that I was eventually to attend were in a horrible crash involving a dumptruck running a red light and hitting their car. Three kids who lived across the street from me: twins and another boy from another family. The twins lived, but the other boy -- and two other kids as well -- died. One of them was a friend of Max's, as he is five years older than I am and was attending the school at the time. It was horrific. All these years later, and it's still vivid in our minds.
    I imagine your sense of shock is rather like what I felt then.

    I agree that 18 is a much more sensible driving age. Utah has made some progress toward this, instituting more steps in the licensing process, similar to what you described. But it's not enough. Unfortunately, it's also still perfectly legal here to yak away on a cell phone while driving -- stupid beyond stupid.
    Again, my sympathies for your loss. Were these kids your students?

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  3. KBF - yes, kids seem to have privileges which don't unfortunately come with responsibilities. The district program sounds good - if it even saves one life it's worth it. Thanks for your comments.

    PBW - yes that has made it worse - the 2 dead kids were from our school, and the critically injured one. I didn't know any of them.
    Talking on cellphones was made illegal about 6 months ago - but just yesterday the newspaper ran a front page photospread with the photos they had taken on one corner over a 10 minute period - 12 people chatting on their phones while driving. Unbelievable.

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  4. A horrible sad loss, especially for their loved ones left to pick up the pieces of life without them. We can only hope we all stress to the living and young unexperienced drivers how important safe driving is. There is a sign that is posted at our high school as you leave, Concentrate on Driving! and sometimes these tragic endings are kept solid in the memories of the living and will help make them saver drivers. We passed a law here where new drivers must have an experienced seasoned driver with them while they drive the first year... but laws are always broken. Parents too busy. ;( I don't know how many times I remind and have chased my children down our driveway because they were in too big a hurry to scrape all the ice off their windows. But each of them have lost friends to car crashes, and I almost lost my oldest son (their brother) as he rolled in car and was thrown into a farmer's ditch but somehow he managed to survive, and I still say a prayer by that horrible curve...So very sorry for the darkened gloom that surely rests over your school....may everyone find peace.... and keep their memories close to their hearts.

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  5. So sad. I remember getting my license at 15 (in the US). Now my youngest kid is 18 and none of my kids drive. I'm so glad. I was a reckless driver as a teen. Now I say prayers of thanks that I didn't kill anyone. I must have had whole team of guardian angels working overtime.

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  6. Alexia, this happens too often. 17 is the driving age here. I have referred to your post in mine, as I remembered it when I was thinking today. Driving

    All the best
    Juniper

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  7. Stopping by to say I hope your weekend and week ahead is sunny and bright and filled with joyful moments of the bluest waters and wet doggie noses! Take care Alexia

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  8. Oh I am sorry about the kids being from your school. I had a former student killed in a traffic accident (while she was still in our school, just a different grade). I've lost a couple in other ways, also. The worst happened on 1991 (Valentine's Day), when one of my own gifted kids on a holiday with his family went past a safety barricade in a canyon and fell 300 feet to his death. I spoke at his funeral, and it was one of the toughest things I've ever had to do.
    Again, my sympathies to you.

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