If you ask any parent, or really any adult who knows a teen driver, if they are afraid of them, you will most likely receive the answer “Yes.” Their response is not simply based on the common belief that teens are dangerous drivers. Teens ages 16-19 are statistically proven to be three times more likely than drivers ages 20 and older to be in fatal accidents, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
In fact, at Los Altos, there have been three crashes within the last few months. The first was an incident that involved a car hitting a girl, who had to be sent to the hospital. The second was more serious, involving a five-car crash. Junior Yashwant Parmar was a part of this crash.
“[The other driver] was momentarily distracted by something,” Yashwant said. “We were just sitting at the red light when we got hit.”
The fact that this has become a trend is certainly an issue for the school. Even though the school has already been working to alleviate the dangers of reckless driving, not enough has been done, from either end—students or school. Both parties must work on changing driving habits to increase safety. From the two crashes already this year on campus, and a third that happened in the last few weeks just a short distance from the school, it is clear that this is not an issue that can be ignored.
Fortunately, students and administration are finally coming together to create positive action.On October 24, senior Brianna Ellington and Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson ran a free t-shirt giveaway for students who signed a no texting while driving contract.
“At least 50 students signed,” Brianna said. “My friend from Mountain View…did it [there], and she brought it here.”
The no-texting-while-driving contract is a preventative measure taken by the school against reckless driving, which is purported to be a significant problem. Distractions have been proven to be a recurring problem in teen driving, as many teen car accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention to the road. In fact, a study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has found that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash.
Although teaching teens to drive safely is a pressing issue, some may see it as a futile task. Teens are arguably difficult to teach, and one may argue that even if teens are taught to drive safely, they won’t necessarily remember their lessons when on the road.
Teen Driver Source, a part of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said, “It can be hard to teach long-established skills to novice drivers.”
The school should continue to work against reckless driving by implementing rewards for safe driving like the free t-shirt giveaway. The school should also try to establish stricter punishments for reckless driving such as fines. Likewise, students should recognize that reckless driving is not cool, and make a communitive effort to refrain from risky behavior. Students should work on remaining focused on driving, and follow the law in avoiding distractions. This will go a long way to help reduce the amount of reckless driving and accidents on campus.
The no-texting-while-driving contract promotes the right idea. There is still more to do to prevent further accidents from occurring.