OUR VIEW: We need to turn parking lots back into safe zones


artwork by Sydney Gonzales

Expensive vehicles zip around the area at breakneck speeds, generating a symphony of eardrum-rattling engine noises. While it seems a descriptor of a high-octane NASCAR race, it’s actually an accurate description of the student parking lots. Reckless driving is becoming more and more common among our teenagers, and it’s imperative to find a solution as this dangerous situation escalates.

  When high schoolers get their licenses or a vehicle even, they’re thrown into a new world of freedom. Gone are the days of taking the chaotic bus home or having one’s parents carpool them to the neighborhoods of friends. However, freedom always comes with a responsibility that’s not always apparent at first–and most new drivers are blinded by the overwhelming brightness of independence and pleasure. Even though driver’s ed courses go into depth on safe driving, even going so far as showing student drivers corny, dramatic mini-movies detailing the consequences of reckless driving, it seems to go through one ear and out the other. Consequently, when new drivers get behind the wheel, it leads to chaos in the place where student drivers are most likely to dwell–school parking lots. Places, where students are supposed to safely enter and leave school, become zones of mayhem, with the desire to show off to friends or be distracted by friends and other factors which leads to disorder and danger.

  These students will use the excuse that they have no other choice but to drive, or that they just really want to enjoy these new freedoms. However, they fail to understand that one can get behind the wheel without being reckless. Yes, the privilege of driving is as sweet as chocolate, but it’s best not to overindulge. To be able to drive is a great leap in life, and it’s best to enjoy it responsibly. If a student driver chooses to be safe and accountable for his or her actions, there is really no problem. When a 15-year-old gets behind an uninsured wheel, the losers are the students around them. If they do not even have a permit, that means they haven’t even viewed the corny movies shown on drivers ed sites.

  Reckless driving, especially on school property, is an extreme danger to others and needs to be handled before it gets out of hand. Thankfully, there’s a myriad of solutions schools and students can take in order to curb this behavior. For example, schools can hand out parking permits to students who have a legal driver’s license and proper insurance. This would prevent students who know little about driving from causing chaos in the parking lots and would also prevent any debacles with insurance in the event of an accident. Schools can also punish repeat offenders by restricting them from using the parking lot if they’ve acted recklessly in the past. More staff involvement in the parking lot before and after school would go a long way.

  It is imperative that both schools and students work toward a solution to quell reckless drivers and calm the chaos that happens in school parking lots daily. If students would remember to slow down, drive responsibly and respect other drivers, school parking lots could turn back into what they were supposed to be in the first place–safe places to drive and park.