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The reality of mixing teens and cars

September 9th the C B C National News showed that four Moncton New Brunswick young men in grade eleven where killed in a head on crash. They had attempted to pass a group of female friends of theirs.

Couple of years ago we had two Regina Mundi teens perish in another head on crash on Wellington Road

Lest we forget, the teens collided with Colleen...... who had to be hospitalized with purported injuries to her ribs and sternum.

My 30 years of counselling thousands of young people tells me that when you allow your teenagers to take the car to school you are tempting fate. When the male driver invites his friends to go along for a ride for a forty minute lunch break you increase the risk.

Young people never believe that they can get hurt- nothing really bad can happen to them. They are adolescents and of course are indestructible.

Both my son and daughter attended R.M C. One hundred percent of the student body are bussed to school.

Many times my children asked if they could drive the family car to school. Our answer was, “No”. “ The school provides trained drivers to take you and your classmates safely to school.” I know it wasn’t cool to be driven to school in a yellow bus. They would complain- “ all the other kids....” but my wife and I never relented.

The insurance rates for young people under the age of 25 is very expensive reflecting the cost of repairing/replacing damaged vehicles. The price of the loss of a youngster’s life is incalculable.

Transport Canada’s statistics for 2001 show 707 individuals age 15-24, died as a result of motor vehicle accidents and 58,000 sustained injuries needing medical attention.

The visits to the funeral home, masses, internment can not heal the pain of the children’s families and friends. It is against the proper order of nature that parent’s should have to bury their children. It is very hard for teens to comprehend that one of their own could come to harms way.

The Fall term is the most difficult for students and staff to orientate themselves to a new school year. They should not have to face the harsh reality of losing fellow classmates in a motor vehicle accident.

There are answers to our dilemma:

Don’t blame Wellington road. Senior administrators should demonstrate some leadership . Parking fees should be charged to students/staff who wish to use the school parking lots. Only those students who have a valid reason to drive to school should be granted permission.

Western/Fanshawe students have to purchase a L T C bus pass. with unlimited bus service for the school year. It is expensive for staff/students who wish to use the parking lots.

The L T C should be approached to make similar bus pas arrangements for the local school boards.

Ultimately, the buck stops at mom/dad’s door and we are obliged to make hard decisions and say “No.” How many of you allowed your teens to-day to drive or be driven by a classmate to school? Why?

Taking a chance on giving your youngster the keys to the car to go to school is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with your children’s precious lives. Folks please make wise decisions- your families well being may be at stake.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com