Celebs should promote safety

Celebs should promote safety

by Carmen Huerta

The privileged teenagers of 2013 who receive Mercedes-Benz G500s on their birthdays are endangering our streets. To these individuals, turning 16 only means one thing—unsupervised driving. Getting new privileges may not be seen as taking on important responsibilities to these teens.

When adding the implications of texting while driving, hazards on the road and inexperience into the equation we now have a major problem on our streets. The very idea that I may be driving on the same highway as with any one of these teenagers is terrifying and we should all be concerned.

Sadly, my fears are justified by some teenagers’ disregard for the law when it comes to their driving privileges.

While reading a recent the Huffington Post article entitled “Kylie Jenner Gets Into Car Crash 18 Days After Getting Her License,” I was irritated because the article did not adequately address the fact that she endangered the lives of people in three vehicles. Instead of focusing on safety, the story was just another tabloid piece. Fortunately, Jenner didn’t hurt anyone.

I would count my blessings, Ms. Jenner, because it could have been worse.

I have a 17-year-old sister who adores this reality star and although she may be one year older than Jenner she is prone to the allure of the glitz and glamour associated with the rich and famous. However, the unglamorous side of being young and fabulous is that teens account for one of the highest percentages of driving accidents and deaths. According to Geico, one in five teenagers will have an accident during their first year of driving. Also, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, a 16-year-old is 20 times more likely to be killed in an auto crash than an adult. These facts only add to my concern of teenage driving.

This brings me back to Jenner, who has amassed an immense following on Keek, a social networking site. With this kind of influence and most of her following being between the ages of 13 and 19 years old, her influence among the teen population is significant. She could have brought road safety to the attention of a huge amount of teens, but this didn’t happen. Instead, a few days after her accident she was reportedly seen on the road again behind the wheel of a new Mercedes as if nothing happened.

This speaks volumes to the teenagers that idolize and admire her every move.  Privileged or not, she has to realize that her every move will be scrutinized because she is in the public eye. She has the potential to turn scrutiny into meaningful change.

There is much more that young celebrities can do with their star power and time. Driving takes time to get used to and young celebs, such as Jenner, have many years to improve and understand that having a license comes with responsibilities. Although there is nothing wrong with a 16-year-old driving a car, they should understand that they are engaging in a grown-up responsibility that was given to them because they elected to participate in and abide by California laws and regulations. Some of the characteristics contributing to an increased number of teenage accidents according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles are lack of skill, risk taking, poor hazard detection and not wearing seat belts.

Celebs should take a negative event, such as a car crash, and use their public visibility for the good of all the impressionable teenagers who follow their every move.