Neal, I want you to make a plea to all parents, regardless of whether their kids have done something stupid behind the wheel of a car. Ask them to visit the Street Safe website (www.streetsafeus.com) and watch the video overview (http://streetsafeus.com/faq.asp) of the program. I’m convinced that if they do that, many will decide it is worth the $25 it costs to enroll their teens in the course before they do something to cause mandatory enrollment.
If they do, here’s what they can expect:
1. Evasive maneuvering exercises. Students are put through a course designed to test their ability to handle a car but get this: They do it both with and without a cell phone in hand in order to teach the importance of driving without distractions.
2. Tailgating. Most teens think they can stop on a dime. But this course shows them they cannot. It shows them exactly how much room they need at a given speed.
3. Loss of control. Teens who take this course have the experience of losing control of an automobile for just a few seconds at about 25 miles per hour. Better still, there are several other teens in the car with them when they lose control. Those passengers learn quickly the importance of getting out of a car operated by an incompetent or otherwise unsafe driver.
4. Fatal Vision. Special goggles help simulate the experience of being inebriated. Even kids who have never had a sip of alcohol will learn about the precise effects of alcohol on their motor (no pun intended) abilities. They will perform tests in golf carts and will try to pass roadside sobriety tests with goggles that will help them realistically assess their chances of fooling the police.
Just as getting mugged can make a person a conservative overnight, getting in a car accident can make a person a cautious driver overnight. When kids turn twenty-one, parents can consider getting them guns to prevent those life altering muggings. But long before kids turn twenty-one, parents can consider sending them to Street Safe to prevent those life altering accidents.
Thanks for helping me spread the word, Neal. I know this is one of your pet peeves (and it’s certainly one of mine). If you want to work together to make sure this program becomes a reality all across America, just send me a text message. On second thought, I’ll just see you next time I’m in Atlanta.