Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Going Skydiving

Name: Sydney White
From: Towson, MD
Grade: High School Senior /Currently College Freshman
School: Towson University
Votes: 3

So, you think
that you’re cool now that you have your driver’s license and are
behind the wheel of a car. It’s the talk, right, the day you
passed your driver’s test. All of your friends are celebrating
that you’ve either joined their ranks or that they can now hitch a
ride with you. Either way, you’ve secured your God given right to
drive. You are powerful and on you’re way to social freedom and

Well, not so
fast. Driving is not a right of passage; even though it feels that
way. Driving is a privilege for those who have shown that they have
mastered the skill and accepted the responsibility that goes along
with it. Driving carries a great deal of responsibility, more than
you can imagine.

Unless you’re
life has been touched by a near miss or a tragic accident, most
likely you take driving for granted. You’ve never really thought
much about it, that when you get into a car that it might be your
last ride. But, it just might be. The statistics are alarming.
Over 4.5 million people were injured in a car accident last year,
with over 40,000 deaths contributed to driving. Over half of these
accidents and fatalities involved teens and young adults.

Now, if we had
an epidemic that was killing people at this rate, it would be a
national emergency. The World Health Organization and the government
would be evaluating the situation and planning towards a cure. The
headlines would be abuzz with the grim details. Yet, the inherent
risks and tolls of driving are often dismissed or downplayed, never
in the headlines and certainly not recognized as an epidemic.

Having lost
several people in my life to horrific car accidents, I have had my
share of grief and sorrow. I’ve looked for the answers, but have
found none to this senseless loss of life. I’ve come to understand
the risks involved in getting behind the wheel and out on the road.
I understand the responsibility of safe driving and obeying the laws,
but what about the other guy?

Our society has
become numb and ignorant to this national travesty. There is a lack
of responsibility and accountability. Distracted driving, impaired
driving, and irresponsible driving are the root causes for car
accidents- and are all preventable. More needs to be done to make an
impact. We as a society must be proactive and less reactive.
Stricter laws with active reinforcement are needed. Distracted
drivers need stiffer penalties. Servers need to be held accountable
for serving alcohol beyond the legal limits. Accidents involving
injuries and casualties need to be looked as criminal acts with
appropriate penalty or punishment. Education must extend beyond the
initial how-to sessions and reach the mass majority of drivers that
have become lackadaisical and irresponsible.

As for me, I’m going skydiving this weekend as driving a car
is riskier than jumping out of a plane.

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