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Denebola » Article » High school drivers not quite riding dirty
Editorials and Opinions

High school drivers not quite riding dirty

By Nick Sobel
Published: December 2009

Everybody has those romantic visions of high school senior year. We dream of having it all’€being recognized for all our exploits, walking the halls like a rock star, and driving a sexy car that turns heads as we fly at twice the speed limit down Brandeis Road.

But herein lies the issue. High school drivers are inexperienced, overconfident, and under immense pressure to impress their blasé friends with their over-zealous acceleration and debatable turning strategies. This lack of ability and experience, coupled with peer pressure, is enough to make driving a very dangerous place for unsuspecting (and even suspecting) motorists in and around school grounds.

With so many teens on the road listening to music so loud that they can’t recall what a stop sign means (full stop and three seconds, people), there is an unsurprisingly high number of driving-related incidents involving the school and its surrounding area. This is not to mention some of the issues high school drivers tend to have when intoxicated.

Aside from the safety problems posed by teen drivers, there is the effect on traffic. Because the school lacks sufficient parking spots to house every car, drivers are forced to parallel park along Brandeis, the road running by the school from the front entrance to the field house.

The parking on Brandeis creates jams every morning, when oncoming traffic is unable to pass cars in the process of parking on the narrow road. Horrific traffic ensues all the way down Brandeis, starting hundreds of yards before the school and winding down side streets that feed hundred of drivers from Parker Street to Brandeis. So the unfortunates who spent five too many minutes straightening their hair find themselves marked tardy.

On the monetary front, possession of a car is extremely demanding. Students driving in the all-too-popular fast-and-furious fashion described earlier can make their Honda Civics guzzle gas like Hummers (and wreck them pretty often too).

The high gas prices we’ve all come to expect can put a serious dent in any student’s coffers. They (by which I mean their parents) are forced to pay for repairs and towing fees’€which add up quickly, as offenders are charged $110 for every time they get towed.

Parking passes can help students avoid being towed, but they are only available to seniors for $200 per semester. The passes provide a guaranteed spot in the lot across from the school’s front entrance, an opportune location that saves lucky seniors long walks down Brandeis in the freezing cold.

But compare that to a bus pass, which only sets back a South student $180 for an entire year. That’s saving $110 per semester. You may have to be the only senior on the bus, but that’s enough to pay for being towed!

Now up to this point, I’ve been a pretty big buzzkill; I’ve painted high school drivers as expensive, inexperienced, dangerous drivers who constantly screw up. This is, of course, not the complete truth.

There do exist drivers who do not fit this stereotype. Some actually help their parents by driving carefully and chauffeuring younger siblings all over Newton. In these cases, having a car is warranted, because the student takes stress off of the parent and helps carry some of the load. Unfortunately, this is not usually the situation.
And so we will continue to drive too fast, park poorly, and go out to lunch at Tango Mango every single day. We will continue to park illegally, get towed, cost our parents money, and act our age. Maybe someday high school students will be model citizens.

But after all, every part of high school is about learning. And driving a car is no different.

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