Safe driving advice for teen drivers (and we all might need it.)

With the early dose of spring weather the last few weeks, we have had a number of issues with teenagers driving unsafely and disturbing residences in town. This is not a new problem for us or any city for that matter. This happens every spring and in every town that has teenagers. Recently, the city council voted to add a four-way stop by Sleepy Eye Public School in an attempt to make that area safer; it seems to have helped. We still have the issue with loud trucks rumbling out of residential neighborhoods. Once again, the law in Sleepy Eye is if your car or truck exhaust can be heard beyond 300 feet, approximately one city block, then you are in violation of our ordinance. We will be enforcing this ordnance when we can to get the point across that this is not welcome in Sleepy Eye.

Vehicles require a muffler. It is a state law; any vehicle found without can be issued a citation for that as well. We have this issue most years whether it is loud pipes or loud stereos. What we seem to have more of this year is fast reckless driving. The police department has had some complaints on this and has found a few incidents of it, but I can’t stress enough how much this behavior terrifies me.

Teen drivers disturbing others are the norm in communities. We battle it, but it doesn’t involve life and death; the reckless speed issues do. Whether it’s while leaving a parking lot, accelerating from a stop sign or light or simply taking a residential corner; I can’t stress enough the danger that driving over the speed limit, even in short bursts in residential areas, causes. With people out walking enjoying the weather and kids playing outside, the chance of a tragedy happening goes up with every mile per hour. I personally think 30 is too fast for residential areas, but 30 is the limit. What teens don’t realize is how fast everything happens when their speed increases. I hope all parents speak with their teen drivers about this and help them realize that even if it is an accident, they will still have to live with their choices for the rest of their lives. Once the tragedy happens, nothing can bring that life back. Please slow down; you could save yourself a ticket, but more importantly, you could save a life.