Sometimes teenagers get a bad rap on this blog. Mostly for being hormone-crazed make-out machines at the swimming pool. But I'm nothing if not an equal opportunity observer, so today we're talking driving.
We have a new high school here in town. For now, it's the only one, although a second one should open next fall. The previous high school was on the north side, far enough away that it was easy to avoid that area before and after school. But the new school is roughly 1.5 miles from home. It's located just off a major north-south four-lane road. I drive through there at least twice a day at the same time the students are coming and going.
It's hardly a coincidence that I see an accident involving a teenager nearly every day. Most are small fender benders in the morning hours, but some have been larger. This morning's accident was a six car pile-up. When I drove by five teenagers and one adult were standing outside their cars. Guess which car was first to get hit.
When school first started I thought the high volume of accidents was simply because more cars were driving on an already heavily travled road. But as the months have passed I have noticed that all of the accidents I see involve a teenage driver. And nearly all of the teenage drivers I see overall have a phone or electronic device in hand. They are clearly distracted.
Iowa's law banning texting by all drivers and use of any handheld device by teen drivers went into effect this summer. If this stretch of road is any indication, it isn't working.