October 5, 2007

Crack down on young speed demons

In the past couple of months, seven teenagers have died in two high-speed, sickening car accidents.
In both cases, the drivers had already proven their recklessness on the road, but were still behind the wheel of hot Subaru sports cars that nobody who’s 17 ought to be driving.
What angers me most about the accident yesterday is that Anthony Apruzzese, the driver, had no business driving anything faster than a 10-speed.
Look at what the Waterbury Republican-American has uncovered about Apruzzese’s driving record if you want to see government failure at its best.
Since he got his license 14 months ago, Apruzzese racked up a speeding ticket in November, another one a few days later and a ticket after that for improper seat belt us.
Then, in March, he slammed a car into a tree at 90 miles an hour – while he was drunk.
Amazingly, he got his driver’s license back 90 days later.
Yesterday, of course, Apruzzese ceased needing a license. And two girls, 14 and 15, died along with him after he veered into the path of a delivery truck at high speed.
Of course, the driver bears most of the blame. His parents will also have to live with their failures in this.
But what concerns me is how come this guy was allowed to keep driving?
Capt. Domenic Angiolillo, Wolcott police spokesman, told the Waterbury paper that “he had frequently spoken to Apruzzese about his driving habits, including at least six times in September alone. He said Abruzzese was always respectful and polite.”
"He was a good kid who just made some bad choices," Angiolillo told the paper.
Well, maybe.
But among the bad choices in this whole sorry mess are ones made by lawmakers in Hartford.
The law should be changed, as quickly as possible, to crack down on this type of teenage recklessness.
Anyone under 21 who is found guilty of drunk driving should have no chance at all to recover his or her license until they are 21. That just seems like a no-brainer, for so many obvious reasons.
Moreover, anybody under 21 who gets a second speeding ticket should also lose the right to drive, maybe for a year.
But if anyone under 21 is caught going more than 20 miles over the speed limit, which is pretty darn fast, they shouldn’t even get a chance to rack up another ticket.
It’s not teen drivers who are the menace. It’s reckless teen drivers.
Once they’ve proven themselves unfit to be behind the wheel, make damn sure they’re not. It’s our responsibility to protect the rest of society from the danger they pose, of course, but it’s also our duty to protect them from themselves.
Kids make mistakes. But we should make it a whole lot harder for them to make the same mistakes over and over until they get killed from them.
I don't want to see more teenagers smashed up and dead like the ones who who died in Bristol in July and in Wolcott yesterday. Let's do something about it.

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Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can someone says this

"Capt. Domenic Angiolillo, Wolcott police spokesman, said he had frequently spoken to Apruzzese about his driving habits, including at least six times in September alone. He said Abruzzese was always respectful and polite.

"He was a good kid who just made some bad choices," Angiolillo said."

What Apruzzese was was reckless, had no concern of the safety of himself or the others around him.
That is selfish and self-centered.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget the parents of these kids who buy those high performance cars for them. I don't know of many teens who have jobs capable of financing and insuring such a vehicle. there is no way a teenage kid should be behind the wheel of a car capable of those speeds. to have been handed the keys to such a vehicle at such a young age shows a lack of common sense on the parents part, especially given his past driving history.

Steve Collins said...

I figure the parents now understand all too well how badly they messed up. There's no point in jumping on them at the moment.

Anonymous said...

This isn't government failure, it's the parents' failure. I can't imagine the grief both of these sets of parents are going through, but it's their fault. These weren't just a couple of boys who were driving too fast, these were boys with an established record of driving too fast. Their parents should not have been letting them drive, and now other parents are paying the price.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how any parent can buy their kid a second speed vehicle after the kid smashes up the first one and nearly kills himself and his passenger.

If the state doesn't take the kids license away the parents should have the common sense to.

Just curious, did this family have any more children than the two that were killed in the car accident?

oyez oyez said...

Steve, you nailed it. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

For what reasons did the police captain have to speak to this teenager (6 times last month) about the teenager's driving habits?

What were the circumstances of those interactions?

What's wrong with the Wolcott police?

Aren't they supposed to protect us from the reckless ones?

Steve Collins said...

I don't understand the parents' choices either. But as a society we can only set policy, not make people choose wisely.
In this case, there is clearly a policy failture as well as a parental one.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the speed demon cracked down on himself.

Anonymous said...

You would think the 4 kids dying on Rt. 6 over the summer would have been enough of a wake up call for ALL local youth...

So sad.

And I agree with what everyone else said about parents buying their kids souped up high speed cars.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget about those two teenage boys who died in that crash on Park Street (Route 72) not long before the four died on Route 6. I bet speed did them in as well, but I haven't seen a word about it in the paper. You're right, Steve, the boys shouldn't have had a license after proving themselves reckless and dangerous. I feel worst for the passengers, who were powerless once they got in the car, and for families and friends left behind. It's all such a waste.

Anonymous said...

Did you see in the paper today that this numbskull kid got off on a plea bargain that gave him juvenile offender status for driving drunk? That's crazy. He's old enough to drive but not to be responsible for what he does behind the wheel? Another boneheaded move by the legislature!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Capt. Angiolillo took his kids to see the carnage in Wolcott.

Anonymous said...

If he did, I hope he filled a bus up with teenager drivers. It might help stop another carnage from happening.

Anonymous said...

There are many factors that can be blamed, the car, the kids, the parents, the government, but no matter who you want to blame now the point in moot in this case. I am a believer in letting parents discipline their kids before laws are implemented to do it, but when the parents fail at this I am not against the government stepping in. My parents would take my liscence for just missing curfew, if I had done any of the things this kid had done I never would have seen the inside of a car again until I was in my 20's. This kids' parents obviously couldn't see how poor of a driver their son was. Hopefully now there will be a focus on improving laws for drivers under the age of 18/21. Maybe in the future another tragic event like this one can be avoided.