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We Got Trouble, Trouble, Trouble, Right here in the USA, it starts with “T” and that stands for “Too Many Teenagers in the Vehicle without Parental Supervision”

The Top Gun National Crises Troubleshooter, Retired

April 8, 2013

Philosophers call this a “Crowd Phenomenon”, Psychologist call this Crowd Psychology” when two or more teenagers are in a vehicle without a parent there to keep things under control, there are no-longer individual teenagers in the vehicle but one “Crowd” thinking as one and they can easily talk themselves into doing something “Stupid” and fatal. 

There are many incidents in history to illustrate the “Crowd Phenomenon” or Crowd Psychology all the way from Lynch Mops to Demonstrators in our streets to the French Revolution to the crucifixion of Jesus to the assaults against the apostle Paul in Jerusalem causing him to be locked up in prison for two years under protective custody by the Romans.  Many papers and books have been written on this subject and even applied to our Stock Market being affected by this “Crowd Phenomenon” or Crowd Psychology”.  The individuals become one mind and the crowd acts as one individual.  This is how two or more teenagers in a vehicle can convince themselves to do something Stupid that can be Fatal to all the occupants of the vehicle. 

The problem starts about at the age of fourteen and is prevalent until about the age of twenty-three for the vehicle situation.  The Homo Sapiens brain is not fully developed to make logical, rational, critical thinking decisions until the brain is fully developed at about age twenty-three.  Until this development is reached, the teenagers and young adults are operating on hormones and can drive each other to make very bad choices. 

What is the solution?  One possibility is to pass legislation that a parent must accompany all teenage drivers when more than one teenager is in the vehicle.   This is going to be difficult to accomplish when the teenagers are sent off to college and they are still vulnerable to this “Crowd Phenomenon”.  

To date I have personally known a fourteen year old, a seventeen year old, two college classmates in separate incidences that got caught up in this “Crowd Phenomenon” and in a vehicle with other teenagers, none survived.  True that this data is over a forty-year period, but, I’m sure others can site examples as well.  I throw this out to our legislators and parents to address this issue of the “Crowd Phenomenon” in Vehicles with teenagers and young adult drivers.