If a news ticker could sigh, it probably would have yesterday when the words "Lindsay Lohan arrested again" came flashing across it. Along with Amanda Bynes, who seems to have caught the same case of irresponsible driver-itus, Lohan's had so many mishaps behind the wheel that it's almost funny ... except it's not, is it? Not really.
And I can't help wondering if all the accidents these young actresses are getting into with very little consequence, and all the jokes surrounding them, aren't having a devastating effect on our teenagers. They're young, they're eager to get behind the wheel of a car, they're cocky about their abilities, and they don't seem to have much respect for just how serious it is to be in a situation like Lohan's or Bynes'.
If I sound like I'm making a broad, sweeping generalization, I apologize. Not every teen is a bad driver. Not every teen is irresponsible. But if even a few of them are watching the news, seeing these starlets have one DUI after another, and observing what might as well be described as a national glee over these young women's foibles, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We are screwed.
Just this week an 18-year-old was caught making a joke out of her own DUI on Facebook, and it gave me chills. I have seen too many children buried in my town, killed in car accidents. I have seen friends lose their parents, parents lose their children, because people take lightly the responsibility of getting behind the wheel of something that weighs 4,000 pounds.
We live in a nation of cars, and that means a lot of car accidents. There are more than 6.4 million accidents a year, and at least 115 people dying every day in a car crash.
Oh, and let me add to that: car crashes are the leading cause of death for American kids between the ages of 13 and 19.
Still think it's OK to poke fun at LiLo and Amanda while the kids are around? Still think it's OK that Amanda is allegedly still driving around with a suspended license and LiLo was only in jail for a hot minute? If we want our kids to be responsible behind the wheel, we can't let them think that what happens in Hollywood is normal or funny.
How have you imparted the gravity of these women's situations to your kids? Do you feel like they get it?