One of my favorite activists is Malala Yousafzai. In large part it’s for what she stands for: fighting the Taliban, fighting for education, making a stand for young women, making a stand for humanity. But for me it’s also something larger. She was 11 when she started writing for the BBC. An activist at age 11. At age 11 she was fighting the stereotype placed on her life circumstance. She fights for her life under the name of education. It makes me wonder what impact, what power is possible in one’s young life. We’ve heard it said before that we have the “power to change the world.” I’m going to stick a pen in that and say I highly doubt it. The risk of crash doubles with one passengers under 21 years of age. The risk of crash quadruples with three or more passengers under 21 years of age. When I read these quotes I see something much larger at stake. I see a focus not on questions of influence, but instead being influenced by society. This is a contest recognizing and inexplicably stating teens are aggressive and careless drivers. At least 1 in 4 of all car collisions involves phone use. 50% of the people who lose their lives in collisions each year would still be alive if they had worn a seat belt. Teens, how can we live in a world where people our age are being powerful impacters in the world and chose to still drive like your lives don’t matter? That’s just my haunting question. One more thing to throw on the table: Parents are the number one influencer of teens driving attitudes and behaviors. Here’s what I’m seeing to be true here. We can either act like our lives matter. Or that they don’t. I would say the way feels about their lives rely heavily on adult influence. As teens, we like to say what adults say does not matter, but the statistics above and the way we continue to mimic this poor driving behavior (amongst a host of other things) claims otherwise. Here’s my suggestion: adults, mentor your kids. Invest in them. If you don’t have a kid, find some to hang with. We’re cool and quirky and our reckless side can make for a mean game of basketball if redirected. But more than anything, make them, us, know that we have an impact outside ourselves. Quite simply, give us a reason to care about ourselves and others on the road. Model for us how investing and caring for someone is powerful. The impact will speak volumes for itself. Teens, look up and look around. Get involved in things. Make more mistakes with people. Spend more time with people. Odds are you’ll start seeing your humanity more clearly, the fragility and awesomeness of your own person hood and life. Even larger than that, you’ll start seeing more humanity around you. I promise it’ll bring you deeper caution on the road when you’re hyper aware of those you share it with and have strong expectation and want to live another day. This may seem inadvertently related to reckless driving itself. I honestly think it hits it spot on. The problem right now is carelessness and carelessness comes from a place of not seeing any reason to care. Period. So let’s change the reality, and meanwhile maybe, change the world. For some reason when people start to care, statistics start to change. And you’re just going to have to take my word for it, but it’s more than addicting this way of life. It’s fufilling.
An essay suggesting a different alternative to reckless driving teen’s should focus there live around to inadvertently destroy the power reckless driving has.