Test of Life

Nlk0302_img_8_2I've picked on Mary Peters, Secretary of Transportation, here before, and here I go again. But I just couldn't resist.

Yesterday's Washington Post contained an article about the higher likelihood of teens being in auto accidents than other drivers (Teens 16% of Crash Victims, U.S. Says). It had this quote from Ms. Peters:
"In the test of life, teenage drivers are failing at twice the rate as the rest of us."

Test of life!!!??? Driving is the "Test of Life?" Not advancing one's self by getting a college education or developing a moral philosophy or helping the less fortunate or teaching a child how to read or battling global warming or bringing joy and happiness to one's family and friends? Driving! That's it? And I've been working so hard on so many other things. If only I'd known that's the test of life. Hey! I've passed!. . .Well, maybe not; I did have an accident once, but I was in my 20's not my teens. Does that count?

Now I certainly agree that reducing auto accidents and making teens safer drivers are laudable goals, and we should do everything we can to do these things, but I think this statement underscores how cars and driving permeate our culture to an absurd degree. If our transportation systems and land-use planning were designed differently, teenagers (and all of us) wouldn't need to drive as much--which would certainly be an effective way of reducing accidents. . .and maybe passing the "test of life."

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