Teens receive ‘wrong messages’ about driving

Martin, Stephanie

SAN DIEGO-According to a recent survey, young drivers have a high tolerance for risky behavior on the road.

Researchers at San Diego State University focused on 2,310 Southern Californians between the ages of 15 and 18. On average, the teenagers said a speeding violation occurs only at 90 mph and above. And 62 percent of those interviewed said they’ve been in a vehicle while reckless driving such as drag racing or drunken driving was occurring.

“It’s discomforting to learn what these young drivers think is safe driving behavior,” says Sheila Sarkar, director of SDSU’s California Institute of Traffic Safety. “These results strongly indicate that teenagers are receiving the wrong messages about driving and being safe on our streets and freeways.”

Sarkar attributes teenagers’ dangerous attitudes to poor driving examples from parents and friends, as well as to popular video games and movies that glamorize speeding.

Sources: www.sdsu.edu, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, Associated Press

Were you surprised by the results of this survey? If it had been conducted in your town or at your school, would the results have been similar? Why or why not? Are most teenagers responsible enough to be behind the wheel? Should they face stricter limits on their driving privileges? Why or why not? Why is risky driving behavior so appealing to teenagers: Do they enjoy the feeling of power? like to show off? think they’re invincible? not take dangers seriously? other?

Why are teenage drivers so vulnerable to negative influences, and how can they better resist them? How much of an influence on your driving habits are your parents? your friends? video games? movies? Do you view speed limits as God-given laws or as dampers on fun? as strict limits or as flexible guidelines? Explain.

Do you consider speeding to be law-breaking? Why or why not? What do you consider speeding-anything over the posted limit? Is it just as bad to go 5 mph over the speed limit as it is to go 50 mph over the speed limit? Why or why not? Would you say you’re a safe driver? How do you react when you’re exposed to reckless driving?

Scripture links: 1 Kings 21:25-26; 22:51-53; Psalm 19:7-14; Proverbs 1:8-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Titus 2:6-8; 3:1-2; and 3 John 11.

Stephanie Martin is a free-lance writer in Colorado.

Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Sep/Oct 2003

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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