Roy Exum: Our 100 Deadliest Days

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When the legendary crooner Nat King Cole saluted “The Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer” back in the early 1960s, he didn’t tell the whole true about “those days of sodas and pretzels and beer.” That fact was brought achingly home on Lake Altoona in Georgia Saturday night when a kid who had graduated from high school only hours earlier drowned after an innocent game he and his buddies were playing went awry.

It seems the fun-filled guys were taking turns riding a shopping cart down a steep path into the lake. Usually the rope from the cart is tied to a pole on the dock, making it easy to drag out of the water for the next ride. For some reason, the kid wrapped the rope around himself and the cart dragged the victim into the dark water, where he drowned.

On Memorial Day the “100 Deadliest Days” began in the United States. From Monday until Labor Day a disproportionate number of teenaged drivers will die on our highways. In 2012 almost 1,000 people were killed involving crashes where teenaged drivers were involved and what is most sobering is distracting passengers increase the chances a teen driver with crash by a whopping 44 percent.

John Ulczychi, a spokesman for the National Safety Council, was quoted on CNN the other day on why more than 40 states have now enacted laws limiting the number of passengers a new driver can have in the car. “Passengers are a distraction the whole time. Texting and cell phones are limited to the seconds or minutes they are being used,” he said but passengers in the car are a greater risk.

“It is tragic parents don’t really appreciate (and understand) the risks of passengers. If you have a kid who has had a driver’s license less than a year, you have to think very, very carefully about the conditions or the situations in which you allow them to carry passengers,” he told CNN.

Reporter Kelly Wallace said that a North Carolina study found loud conversation, music too loud and horseplay were found to cause young drivers to make up to six times more evasive efforts to avoid crashes and Ulczychi told her a huge problem for a beginner is driving at night.

“I think too many parents think of night driving as a curfew. ‘I’ll let my kid stay out until 11 so he’ll be fine,’ they’ll say but it isn’t the time of night – what matters is how dark it is. There is a bigger risk driving after dark.”

What’s disparaging is the CNN Report is right on the mark. Live long enough and you’ll soon mourn the lives of children who die every summer. Anyone with young drivers needs to stress “the 100 Deadliest Days” to their children and remember that the risk to a passenger in a new driver’s car increases over 40 percent. We need to beat those odds.

* * *

A 19-year-old boy was trying to hold his breath as he drove through a tunnel northwest of Portland, Ore., on Sunday and passed out from the lack of oxygen. True story. His car veered into the center lane where it crashed head-on into an oncoming Ford Explorer. Four people suffered injuries and the “breath-holder” was cited for reckless driving, three counts of reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault.

An Oregon State Police spokesman explained people who hold their breath in tunnels do so due to superstition or for luck.

* * *

A car carrying five kids in Farmington, NY, had just left Dave & Busters, where they had been playing games and eating pizza, when the driver got in a playful race with some friends from high school. Four of the children were killed when the car crashed Saturday night and the fifth child died on Sunday.

* * *

In Albertville, Ala., an 18-year-old girl died last week after she was killed when she went too fast and crashed. She was not wearing a seat belt. Three other passengers in the car were hospitalized.

* * *

An 18-year-old girl died Sunday in Mobile, Ala., after she was airlifted from Pass Christian, Texas, from a car wreck six days before. A car driven by her boyfriend, age 18, crashed as it left her house. Her boyfriend and her 16-year-old brother died on impact.

* * *

A 16-year-old boy from Ringgold, Ga., was killed Sunday night when a 1987 truck he was driving failed to negotiate a curve on U.S Hwy 71, went into a ditch, hit a tree, and burst into flames near the Coushatta community.

* * *

A 19-year-old in Lynchburg, Va., died last Wednesday after his vehicle hit a parked school bus and then struck a telephone pole. The accident occurred at 7:20 a.m.

* * *

An 18-year-old female who was a member of the Shashonne-Bannock Indian tribe in Idaho died on the Fort Hall Reservation after she was ejected from her vehicle in a crash last Tuesday night.

royexum@aol.com

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Domestic Violence And Lost Focus - And Response

As a past victim of domestic violence, I am acutely aware of how serious this problem is. I am sorry that the Stone family has to have their personal drama played out to the world at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 every evening.   While the public is being entertained by the drama of all this, the real problems in this city are not getting the attention they deserve.  The shootings ... (click for more)

CBL & Associates Stockholder Accuses Chattanooga-Based Mall Owner Of Security Fraud

A stockholder of CBL & Associates is suing the Chattanooga-based mall owner in Chattanooga Federal Court, claiming its officials artificially inflated the value of the company's stock. Tommy French, of Baton Rouge, La., brought the action against CBL, President Stephen Lebovitz and Vice President Farzana Mitchell. He claims that CBL officials made false and misleading ... (click for more)

Carmody Found Guilty Of First-Degree Felony Murder; Sentenced To Life In Prison

Patrick Carmody was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom on Friday. He was charged with the slaying of 21-year-old Chance LeCroy on Sept. 9, 2010. The state’s account of the incident claimed that Carmody, Ronald Pittman, and Billy Bob Partin traveled ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS Again For Second Straight D-II Title

MURFREESBORO – Baylor coach Kelli Smith was feeling no pain here at the Starplex Field No. 3 Friday afternoon after her team had beaten GPS by a 9-1 final for its second-straight D-II state softball crown, but that wasn’t the case late Thursday night. Smith, who now has two state titles as a Baylor player and eight as their coach, spent more than three hours in the local emergency ... (click for more)

Meigs Bounces Back, Beats Silverdale, 8-5, For State Class A Softball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Either Meigs County or Silverdale was going home with a state championship trophy on Friday. Pushed to the limit by the spunky Lady Seahawks in a 6-0 loss – all six runs were unearned – the Lady Tigers responded in the Class A championship game with an 8-5 victory and claimed the school’s first state softball title. “I’m on top of the world,” Meigs ... (click for more)