I’m getting sick and tired of young drivers with cell phones. Just a couple of nights ago some kid who was parked next to me took several minutes to pull out of a parking space while he was trying to send a text message. The kid just pulled out of the space and stopped right behind me oblivious to the fact that I was waiting on him as he just text messaged away in a little dream world of his own.
Some might say that isn’t a big deal. But have you ever been sideswiped – or nearly sideswiped – by some idiot teenager trying to merge onto an interstate while sending a text message? I almost got hit by one of those little sociopaths a few weeks ago on I-20 West not far from Atlanta. At the time, I thought a .357 Magnum was the only cure for such self-absorption. But, recently, I have discovered a more reasonable alternative. I want to share it with you and your millions of listeners (and maybe even your best friend Bill O’Reilly).“Street Safe” is a new program that was designed to provide teen drivers with the proper tools, which will teach them to react calmly in certain dangerous automobile situations. For example, it teaches them the proper correction when running off the road and about driving while distracted. It also deals with issues of drinking and driving.
This non-profit program was started by a retired police officer for the right reason: He simply got tired of wiping pieces of dead kids off of windshields. He knows, all too well, that about 40% of the deaths of people between the ages of 16 and 24 are the result of automobile accidents.
In my view, the only way to deal with irresponsible teen drivers is to: 1) Take the keys away from them as soon as they do something stupid behind the wheel of an automobile, and 2) Give the keys back to them only after they have been given the proper tools and training to help them be better, more responsible drivers.
Street Safe is the perfect course to accomplish the objective of making teens better, more responsible drivers. It is a four-hour course with hands-on and classroom training. Our local District Attorney for New Hanover County, North Carolina (Democrat Ben David) was so impressed with this program that he has now made it the de facto driving school for offenders aged 21 and younger. This Republican agrees wholeheartedly with that decision.
Because the founder of Street Safe needs corporate sponsorship to continue to offer the program - as well as to expand into other markets like Miami and New York City – he wanted me to bring it to the attention of my good friend Neal Boortz. But I have an even better idea.
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.