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Road Warriors
The Wall Street Journal ^ | Monday, June 2, 2003 | BROCK YATES

Posted on 06/02/2003 9:46:36 AM PDT by presidio9

Edited on 04/22/2004 11:49:03 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Orange alert: American drivers are demented, speed-crazed, food-swilling, cellphone-gabbing, lane-jumping, road-raging sociopaths. Forget those Middle Eastern loonies; you face a greater threat from the guy next to you on the freeway in that Chevy Malibu. Any moment now he's likely to punch the throttle, take a bite of an unwrapped Twinkie, hit some numbers on his Nokia, toss you the bird and bunt you into the tall grass.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 06/02/2003 9:46:36 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9
and the worst are 19 year old girls.
2 posted on 06/02/2003 9:50:51 AM PDT by Paraclete
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To: presidio9
Driving in public needs to be banned and it needs to be tightly regulated on private property.
3 posted on 06/02/2003 9:53:39 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: presidio9
Orange alert: American drivers are demented, speed-crazed, food-swilling, cellphone-gabbing, lane-jumping, road-raging sociopaths.

Sounds likes the people I have to work with....:-)

4 posted on 06/02/2003 9:54:45 AM PDT by darkwing104
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To: presidio9
Changing lanes is so much easier when you have a bullhorn in your possession. ;)
5 posted on 06/02/2003 9:56:35 AM PDT by Pyrion
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To: Paraclete
Absolutely! 19-year-old boys drive fast and reckless but are at least somewhat predictable.
6 posted on 06/02/2003 9:58:40 AM PDT by Helen
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To: Flurry
Did you forget a smilie here?
7 posted on 06/02/2003 9:59:23 AM PDT by theDentist (So. This is Virginia.... where are all the virgins?)
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To: theDentist
Oh sorry ; )
8 posted on 06/02/2003 10:00:42 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: presidio9
While it won't help much when hitting the wall in turn 3 at 220 mph, the greatest next improvement in automobile safety would come from wearing helmets. Trendy, style-conscious Americans harumpf and scoff, but it's true. The semi-harnesses help a lot, but your noggin is still free to impact various hard surfaces. Most of us would prefer unobtrusive bicycle helmets if forced to choose, but imagine how awesome you will be in your big-wheel 4X4 Silverado 454 with a full-face helmet in matching trim.
9 posted on 06/02/2003 10:01:00 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: Flurry
I LOVE THE SMELL OF BURNT RUBBER IN THE MORNING!!!!!!!!!!!
10 posted on 06/02/2003 10:04:16 AM PDT by scottlang
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: setcapt
Absolutely, they have NO peripheral vision.
12 posted on 06/02/2003 10:09:40 AM PDT by anoldafvet (Freedom isn't free, it's the most costly gift you'll ever receive.)
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To: Paraclete
and the worst are 19 year old girls.

That's a good average age for the worst group IMO. We have a large university in our town and the young women attending there are downright scary (as drivers) on city streets. I do have the advantage of driviing a Suburban (I'll walk away unhurt) but these lovely young drivers still pull driving stunts that cause me to cringe - question their sanity.

Actually, they think nothing will happen to them (many younger drivers appear to believe this) so they take chances - depend on other drivers giving them the room and time to "do their thing."

One other group actually drives worse, but it's clearly not PC to point them out (black women.)

13 posted on 06/02/2003 10:11:14 AM PDT by toddst
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To: Pyrion
Changing lanes is so much easier when you have a bullhorn in your possession. ;)

Here's another method. If you drive something like an old Plymouth Fury and want to change lanes, just whip the steering wheel back and forth (small arc, so you stay in your lane for now.)3 or 4 times. The car will stay straight, but the body will begin to roll violently. Count to 3 and go anywhere you want to. You WILL be alone, as everyone else on the road has slowed waaay down.
14 posted on 06/02/2003 10:11:15 AM PDT by Farnham (In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.)
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To: scottlang
It's the smell of victory.
15 posted on 06/02/2003 10:11:19 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: presidio9
the road-death rate remains constant at 1.51 deaths per hundred million miles driven.

This stat isn't very helpful, or is it just me? To give it any sense of proportion, wouldn't we want to know how many drivers drove those miles, or how many total miles were driven? It just seems like a weird stat.

16 posted on 06/02/2003 10:13:55 AM PDT by Huck
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To: presidio9
If there was one thing, IMHO, that would bring traffic accidents down, it would be if more Americans could grasp the concept of yielding to other traffic which has the right of way and, the corollary, not "being nice" when you have the right of way if there is other traffic behind you.

Freeway entrance ramps, passing lanes, stop signs are all examples I see daily of violations of this simple principle, which is largely the cause of traffic congestion and accidents.

Just my 2 cents...
17 posted on 06/02/2003 10:14:12 AM PDT by babyface00
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To: toddst
I kiddingly say to my wife, when I see a fast approaching car in my rear mirror that it'll be a young women. 9 times out of 10, I'm right.
18 posted on 06/02/2003 10:19:47 AM PDT by Paraclete
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To: presidio9
I think we should classify auto into categories.
1) The assault vehicle. Two or more of the following:
a. Chrome wheels
b. Wide Tires
c. 17” or maybe even the dreaded 19” wheels
d. Holds over 10 gallons of gas.
e. More than 1 tailpipe
f. Over 4 cylinders

2) The sawed off vehicle: Shorter than 100” Wheel Base.
3) The high capacity vehicle: Holds more than 5 passengers.
4) The high power vehicle: More than 150 horsepower.
19 posted on 06/02/2003 10:22:14 AM PDT by RRWCC (Even under a good king, a subject is still a subject.)
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To: Flurry
I'm sitting here online all day, a partial quad permanently disabled by a careless driver. Forgotten even more than the 42,000 dead and gone is that a similar number are seriously and permanently disabled who are hardly ever cited even as a statistic. That the article cavalierly dismisses what automobiles regularly do to pedestrians and cyclists shows that behind the wheel the author (and most drivers) could give a flip about other human beings.
20 posted on 06/02/2003 10:25:37 AM PDT by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Rumble Thee Forth...)
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To: Paraclete
and the worst are 19 year old girls.

I've noticed the same thing - they drive like bats out of hell, talking and tailgating at the same time. 90% of my most recent near-misses have been with young girls.

Worst thing I've ever done while driving: made myself a tuna salad sandwich (with lettuce and mayo, on rye). I was driving cross country by myself and was on a really empty and boring road in rural Minnesota and got hungry. Drained the tuna out the window, got the lettuce and mayo out of the cooler in the passenger footwell, mixed it up and made myself a sandwich, all on a piece of cardboard in my lap.

Young and stupid, I was....

LQ

21 posted on 06/02/2003 10:26:57 AM PDT by LizardQueen
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To: RRWCC
Virtually every car made in America before the 1980's qualifies under 1 (d and f, and quite a few e), and most up into the 90's and today. And that's not counting trucks and SUVs.

I'd guess at least half the American made cars prior to 1980 (probably more) qualify under 3 and 4.
22 posted on 06/02/2003 10:27:39 AM PDT by babyface00
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To: Huck
I thought so, too.

I would think a comparision in total population vs deaths by auto would've been better, with a percentage comparison on a year by year basis. (That's not said very well, but I'm not an English major or statistician, either....)
23 posted on 06/02/2003 10:37:00 AM PDT by wrbones (Bones)
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To: setcapt
Asians with New Jersey MD plates
24 posted on 06/02/2003 10:37:55 AM PDT by ctlpdad ("patco" the teachers unions)
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To: babyface00
Yep, Then just think, We could compile statistics on how many "criminals" we have arrested because banning these terriable and deadly autos have made our streets safer!

25 posted on 06/02/2003 10:40:13 AM PDT by RRWCC (Even under a good king, a subject is still a subject.)
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To: Flurry
It would help if one had to be able to drive before getting a driver's license. That seems not to be the case in Texas. Germans are required to go to driver's school--for a goodly sum--so they know how to handle their cars well even at break-neck speeds. Americans, especially our immigrants from the south are such poor drivers that they forced even liberal Montana to impose speed limits on their roads. Without the idiots the rest of us could safely drive over 100mph on western interstates. Sure would make Kansas fly by faster.
26 posted on 06/02/2003 10:41:40 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Flurry
Driving in public needs to be banned and it needs to be tightly regulated on private property.

Yes, we need to stop the carnage. Some civil liberties may be sacrificed, but if just one life is saved it will be worth it.....;^)

27 posted on 06/02/2003 10:45:49 AM PDT by elbucko (Floggings will continue until morale improves.)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
There are incredibly stupid people driving on American roads. MADD wants to claim only drinking causes accidents. I could train my Labrador Retreiver to drive better than most of the sober people I find myself surrounded by everyday on the way to and from. I am extremely cautious and avoid the obvious traps but it is the greatest risk I take on a given day. I don't know what the answer to the problem is, but one cannot deny the exisistence of a problem. People like yourself are fully aware of the danger, the rest can only pray and be as wary as possible.
28 posted on 06/02/2003 10:48:06 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: setcapt
The worst are Asians. Really

I agree. It's called "DWA"; Driving While Asian. Anybody for All Nippon Airlines?

29 posted on 06/02/2003 10:49:42 AM PDT by elbucko (Floggings will continue until morale improves.)
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To: RobbyS
Lived in Kansas for 3 long years. There aren't any standards for driving. Each state sets their own. Normally I believe in states rights but without some national standards should a person be allowed to drive outside their licensing state? I've driven in at least 50% of the the US states and I see some common traps that drivers cause. Use of the left lane seems to be a matter of personal choice most places. Merging from entrance ramp to fast moving traffic seems another tripping zone for most. Yeilding to anything seems to be like asking someone to give up a kidney. Following distance Ha! I want a bumper sticket that says "If you can read this,you're in my glove box. Leave my gun alone!"
30 posted on 06/02/2003 10:57:34 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: elbucko
Might be a little off-color here, but I'll give it a shot:


How bad are Chinese drivers?





















They're so bad, a Chinese family moved into my neighborhood, and the MEXICANS started buying insurance.
31 posted on 06/02/2003 11:01:04 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Huck
This stat isn't very helpful, or is it just me?

This stat is probably the only reliable stat possible. As soon as you widen the statistics to take other variables into account, you're getting into spin.

If you truly want to see highway stats improve, spend gasoline taxes on road repair and improvement itstead of the nonsensical BS these funds are being spent on now.

They say modern cars are safer. They aren't. The Viet Nam war gave us our improvement in safety figures, not seatbelts, speed limits or drunk driver enforcement.

You are much safer in a 1964 Chevy, even without your seatbelt on, than you are in any car built today.
32 posted on 06/02/2003 11:13:14 AM PDT by LittleJoe
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To: Flurry
Driving in public needs to be banned and it needs to be tightly regulated on private property

This is exactly where we're headed.
33 posted on 06/02/2003 11:15:24 AM PDT by LittleJoe
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To: Flurry
Riding a person's right read bumper in the blind spot. I cring when I see them doing this to an 18-wheeler. He can't see them. they can't see his blinker and sometimes he has to move to the right lane.(I'm thinking about a truck in the middle lane of a six lane road.)
34 posted on 06/02/2003 11:15:42 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
Americans, especially our immigrants from the south are such poor drivers that they forced even liberal Montana to impose speed limits on their roads. Without the idiots the rest of us could safely drive over 100mph on western interstates.

Don't blame others for the cowardice your politicians showed when they caved in on this issue. Speed limits on the open highways do not improve safety. That fact has been proven many times in the past. Again, you have government and special interest groups using Urban Myth to pass laws that kill people. They do this in the interest of "safety".
35 posted on 06/02/2003 11:25:11 AM PDT by LittleJoe
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To: LittleJoe
I do not doubt it.
36 posted on 06/02/2003 11:27:57 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: RobbyS
You said.(I'm thinking about a truck in the middle lane of a six lane road.)

In many places the person in a truck,s right rear blind spot is passing on the shoulder.
37 posted on 06/02/2003 11:29:37 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: Flurry
No question - the least common denominator in American "society" is the Department of Motor Vehicles. There truly are too many very stupid humans in our country, and they all drive. I submit that many, if not most, of these are the same ones who watch "Survivor" and all the other "reality" TV shows. I guess they like to see themselves on TV. These are the guys in the banged up S10 or Ford Ranger PUs with the baseball cap placed backward on greasy, stringy hair, or the ditzy 22-year old broad putting on makeup, all the while "driving" 75mph in the left lane simulatneously talking on her cell phone. I see vast numbers of stupid events every day in my commute and I stay the hell out of the way as much as I can - try to make myself as small as possible - scary! I think we should mandate an IQ test or some other test proving a modicum of intelligence before issuing a driver's license.
38 posted on 06/02/2003 11:36:26 AM PDT by astounded
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To: astounded
I have a Ranger but I don't wear a hat when I drive and my hair is short and clean. I could write a book on what needs to be done both in education and enforcement. But no one would want to read it. Every time somebody decides to fall asleep and cross amedian we decide it's time to put up median barriers. Wouldn't it be better to educate people that asleep is no way to drive?
39 posted on 06/02/2003 11:43:07 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Paper or plastic? That is the question.)
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To: RRWCC
Nah, just purge the roads of 17-year old ricetards.


40 posted on 06/02/2003 11:49:53 AM PDT by IowaHawk
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To: LittleJoe
They say modern cars are safer. They aren't.

You are much safer in a 1964 Chevy, even without your seatbelt on, than you are in any car built today.

I'm not so sure about that, Joe. Crumple zones, impact absorbing and dispersal technology and other advances, many developed from racing technologies, have really played havoc with the size/safety equation. A case in point...

A few years ago my best friend was involved in a near head on collision at about 60mph. An oncoming driver and he were both stradling the centerline of a two lane highway and the opposing front ends made contact about one third of the way across the hood widths. He was wearing a seatbelt and the only injury he received was shoulder "burns" from the belt when it tensed. He walked away and called for help...the other car was a large Ford, and the people in it didn't fare as well (only driver wearing seat belts). Both cars were utterly totalled.

He was diving a Honda hatchback. The engine, doing as it was designed to, dove down and the front end of the car effectively disintegrated dispersing the energy of the impact. The cockpit was undamaged.

I've had friends go through the windscreen of cars while not wearing seatbelts (impact with a traffic divider on an Illinois freeway..fell asleep). Belts and airbags can save your life (but relying on the bag without the belt is really foolish). A few years my new Chev Cavalier two-door had an encounter with an unliscensed driver who ran a red light at high speed and tried to take the front end off. Tires flying (theyre supposed to in that case) and body parts (the car's) everywhere. Didn't even deploy my air bag and everyone got out and stood stunned at how much damage was done to the various cars involved (he bounced off me and hit someone else) yet not even minor injuries.

I remember cars from the 60's. Yes they were big and heavy, but mass and metal don't always return greater safety. Some, admittedlty when you're the bigger car in the accident, but not always.

All that being said, yes, if I have a choice between being in an accident in a Suburban vs a Geo Metro, I'll take the truck. But pound for pound modern cars are much safer in a collision when there is some hope of survival.

You really want safe? Buy a Mercedes 600 sedan. A german banker was blown up in one in Berlin a few years ago by a bomb placed under the back seat. Driver lived (damage confined to the rear). Also note that if Diana and Dodi had been wearing their seat belts there's a better than reasonable chance they would have survived. Injured severely, yes, but alive.

As an aside, think of the fatality rates in Formula 1 racing prior to the safety regs that came in after Senna was killed. Some of the crashes today would routinely result in terrible injuries in those older cars. Again, impact energy dispersion and controlled crumple points.

Cheers and safe driving, eh!

41 posted on 06/02/2003 11:52:32 AM PDT by mitchbert (Facts are Stubborn Things)
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To: LittleJoe
I fear commuting on GA 400 and 285 far more than Osama or Hussein. Commuting in Atlanta you feel like 75% of all drivers are Al-Queda trying to snuff you out. Swarms of idiot drivers and zero law enforcement make your daily drive feel like an extra in a Mad Max remake.

Worst offenders:

Affirmative Action Queen Latifa types in Suv’s or Hyndai’s
Fat Soccer Moms in Suv’s and or on cell Phones.
Immigrants or Foreign types in anything.
Hommies or Wiggers driving anything.
Red Necks in trucks with # 3 or # 8 Decals.

Sadly, above represents a majority of our population so were all screwed…
42 posted on 06/02/2003 11:58:28 AM PDT by GoShow
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To: RRWCC
LOL

OHHH, ohhh stop - your killing me!!!
Thanks - now I have coffee all over my laptop.

Don't forget:
flash suppressors - extra long tail pipes.
pistol grips - stick shifts
Bayonet mounts - towing hitches
43 posted on 06/02/2003 12:03:03 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: LittleJoe
I am not from Montana but I enjoyed driving at high speeds (and with autobahnrated tires). I agree with you that a competent driver who is not high on something and who is driving in a good car at 120 mph on a west Texas road in broad daylight where he can see five miles ahead should NOT have to worry about "Smokey." Heck, I wish that as a requirement for a driver's license they made the prospective driver go on a race track so they they could safely learn how to handle a car at high speeds.
44 posted on 06/02/2003 12:08:07 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Flurry
As long as we are exploring dumb ideas....

We could limit the horsepower of the car to 2 times the drivers age.

Limit the amount of gasoline purchasable by age / occupation.

Require GPS devices in all new cars so that they can record the car's position and speed for the automatic generation of speeding tickets. (Wait didn't Oregan already ---- naw they would never do that)
45 posted on 06/02/2003 12:11:17 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Flurry
I thought this article was going to be about Hawk and Animal and the legion of doom.

I hear they are making a comeback.

Oooooh what a rush.

46 posted on 06/02/2003 12:12:02 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: mitchbert
A bullet-poof vest is made out of material that "crumbles." One made out of steel that gave the same protection would be too heavy to wear.
47 posted on 06/02/2003 12:14:35 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: mitchbert
I'm not so sure about that, Joe. Crumple zones, impact absorbing and dispersal technology and other advances, many developed from racing technologies, have really played havoc with the size/safety equation. A case in point...

I know mitch, it just doesn't seem to make sense. But, I see these accidents too often to discount. Your case in point is a good one, but I have also seen just the opposite.
My favorite would have to be the multiple vehicle pileup outside of Sacramento. A long line of unrecognizable demolished vehicles with a un damaged 1960 Plymouth, driven by an old lady, right smack in the middle.

Crumple zone technology is great...on a race car. It doesn't work as well as claimed on a heavier road vehicle.

The reason more people survive crashes today is because of modern medical response. We now have paramedics and medevac helicopters. Prior to the Viet Nam war, we had minimum wage ambulance drivers and no paramedics at all. If you were in an accident on the highway, your odds of surviving until medical help arrived were not as good as today.

Our safety experts of today ignore this. Keep your SUV, it may save your life!
48 posted on 06/02/2003 12:25:15 PM PDT by LittleJoe
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To: RobbyS
Heck, I wish that as a requirement for a driver's license they made the prospective driver go on a race track so they they could safely learn how to handle a car at high speeds.

An excellant suggestion that would do more for highway safety than all of the nonsense we hear now!!!
49 posted on 06/02/2003 12:29:41 PM PDT by LittleJoe
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To: LittleJoe
The reason more people survive crashes today is because of modern medical response.

Excellent point. The paramedic issue is well taken as well. Thanks.

50 posted on 06/02/2003 12:31:22 PM PDT by mitchbert (Facts are Stubborn Things)
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