Fewer 16 Year Olds Driving

I suppose what caught my notice in this New York Times piece is that kids had become terrified of driving. The caption under the picture reads: "Kelsey Sheffer, 16, of Bethlehem, Ga., says she lost the motivation to pursue a full license after she saw accident sites with a police officer. For now, her mother is happy to shuttle her around." It is true that youth have had higher accident rates, but you get some rough idea of the risk from the higher insurance premiums: "it now costs 80 percent to 100 percent more to add a 16-year-old to a family’s auto policy." The lack of subsidies for Driver's Ed training (with many schools no longer subsidizing the training) is also mentioned as a reason for the drop. I think that what bothers me most about the tone of the piece is the lack of understanding of trade-offs. Surely, reducing accidental car deaths is good, but it is not the only consideration. There are benefits to teenagers driving, just as there are benefits to adults driving. What is the cost in parent's time driving their kids around? What are the forgone opportunities of the kids because they can't be involved in certain activities? This seems like one topic that could benefit from some rigorous research.



Now we can add dog leashes to the list of items that take more young lives than guns

To the list of plastic water buckets and bathtubs, now we can add dog leashes. A new CDC report notes how dangerous leashes and bungee cords are:

At least 82 youths have died from the so-called "choking game," according to the first government count of fatalities from the tragic fad.

In the game, children use dog leashes, bungee cords wrapped around their necks or other means to temporarily cut blood flow to their head. The goal is a dreamlike, floating-in-space feeling when blood rushes back into the brain. . . .

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