Dangers on the road | AspenTimes.com

Dangers on the road

Dear Editor:I am increasingly concerned about aggressive driving in our valley. Everywhere I go, I am shocked at the attitude and dumb-ass moves that drivers display. From the parent with two kids zooming past me in the morning trying to get them to school on time, to the RFTA bus driver who I paced doing 70 mph on Highway 82; the people in my neighborhood, to the City of Aspen employee driving a fleet vehicle talking on a cell phone, the guy hauling a trailer full of horses to the 18-wheeler dude honking his horn as he blows through the Aspen Village stoplight. It seems as if no one has any regard for speed limits, have no use for stop signs, and don’t quite get the meaning of “yield” and “merge.”I must admit, I was once a speeder. I’m a card-carrying NASCAR fan! I love to drive fast – windows open, music blasting … but, I’ve seen the light. I’ve heard the voice of my son, asking if he can drive. I’d like to share some stunning statistics: Since the start of the Revolutionary War 1775, about a million Americans have died in wars. Since Henry Ford introduced the mass-produced motorcar in 1913, more that 2.5 million Americans have died in car crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. The AAA Foundation analysis shows that from 1995 to 2004, crashes involving 15- to 17-year-old drivers claimed the lives of 30,917 people nationwide, of which 11,177 were the teen driver themselves, 9,847 passengers of the teen driver, 7,477 occupants of other vehicles and 2,323 nonmotorists. More than 326,000 teen drivers are injured each year. $40.8 billion was the estimated economic impact of auto accidents involving 15 to 20-year-olds in 2002 (NHTSA).I have chosen to change my driving habits. I drive the speed limit, signal no matter if it is a lane change or an actual turn. I am a defensive driver, and I ask all of you to do the same. Driving is privilege, not right. I will take driving privileges away from my son if I find that he is not being responsible. Your kids learn from you. If you break all the rules, so will they. Please, think about this when you are driving.Kim VieiraAspen

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