But I Wasn’t Drinking and Driving

Emily B

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You always hear “don’t drink and drive,” but what about when AREN’T drinking and driving? You never hear anything then. “Don’t text drive,” they say, but your phones in your pocket, tucked away until your destination. With no phone and no alcohol, you should be safe, right? Wrong. It was a cold, dark December night. Even the new moon hid from the terror that was coming. Roads were icy, teens inching for excitement. The empty streets called; no one’s around to hit’em, no one’s around to bust’em. The speedometer rose– 60…70…80… Nearing midnight, my sister comes down from her room, her blank stare laced with shock. “There was a crash,” she mustered to say as the realization that her best friend was dead began to creep in. A few nights later, I stood ten feet away from the scene holding a slowing melting candle singing “Amazing Grace.” It was still and quiet, death didn’t seem like something could happen here– but it did. Death can happen anywhere. A tear trailed down my cheek, “amazing grace, how sweet the sound, was blind but now I see.” The four of them weren’t under any influence that night other than peer pressure and teenage recklessness. The driver had one thing in his hand, the steering wheel; no phone, no food, no nothing. It seemed he had control, but one corner took it all; his girlfriend’s life, his girlfriend’s family’s lives, his life outside of a cozy little cell. As far as the law was concerned, he murdered his girlfriend that night. And for what? A few minutes of fun. A few months back, during a local street race, the finish line came early as the car found a tree. A kid was hit the other day in a high-speed hit and run. It’s true. Teens speed. Teens race. A kid doesn’t need to be drunk to be careless. Reckless driving doesn’t stem from distractions alone. But what is the media doing about this? Nothing. There’s no adds against speeding – all teens do it. They’re focusing on “more important” issues. It’s time we realize that this IS important. A flashing speed limit sign is not going to slow a kid at one o’clock in the morning. A hundred-dollar speeding ticket won’t stop a teen notorious for speeding – this is the first one they’ve ever got one and they speed all the time. Teenagers need to hear stories. They need to hear the story of my sister’s friend before they become part of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s late and no one’s on the road, everything can change in a moment. Every time you go over the speed limit, you’re putting yourself into a dangerous situation. Please drive safe – that doesn’t mean just getting a designated driver or putting your phone away. It means being aware and careful every minute of every day. Death isn’t fun. Death isn’t exciting. Death isn’t needed.