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Editorial: At 3 in the morning, teens need to be in bed, not in a car

July 15, 2010
Marshall Independent

Two teenagers were killed in yet another horrific crash this week in Minneapolis, bringing the total number of traffic-related deaths of 16- to 19-year olds to 25 in 2010.

There were 35 such deaths in all of 2009, the Department of Public Safety said.

One is too many.

Twenty-five is heart-wrenching. And troubling.

High speed and alcohol were involved in this week's crash, authorities said, and it's not the first time.

What can be done?

It's hard to say, but it starts at home, with parents. All kids are prone to making poor decisions during their teen years and since there is no way parents can oversee everything their children do, it's up to them to keep the lines of communication open with their children and remind them over and over and over again to make the right choices - stay away from alcohol and stay off the road late at night.

You might sound like a broken record to your kids by giving them these simple reminders. You might get the same old reply - "Yes, I know, you already said that. How many times are you gonna tell me?" - followed by the traditional rolling of the eyes, but so what. In reality, you can't say it enough.

Some of the crashes this year have occurred well after midnight; there's no reason a 16-year-old should be out driving at 3 in the morning. Even if that 16-year-old is the most responsible kid in the world, they're putting themselves in a bad situation by being behind the wheel late at night. They don't know who else is out there on the roads. They don't know that that oncoming car a mile down the highway is potentially being driven by someone who has been sitting at a bar, knocking 'em back for four hours.

None of us know. But we do know one thing: Driving at 3 in the morning is a lot different than driving at 3 in the afternoon. Crashes can, indeed, happen at any time of the day, but the odds rise substantially after midnight.

Parents, do your best to keep your teens off the road late at night. Stop assuming your child will get home safe just because you know he or she is a good driver. If they have a job 20 minutes from home that keeps them at work until 2 in the morning, tell them to find a new job. We understand that kids want/need to work, but no minimum-wage job is worth a drive home that late.



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