Students to adults: fix your driving
Class project finds too many drivers not obeying the rules

by Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Sep 26/97) - They're shocked, mad and appalled and all we adults can do is hang our heads in shame.

As part of a driver education project, students at Thomas Simpson high school recently set up observation posts around Fort Simpson.

Their mission? To check if local drivers were obeying the rules of the road.

And they didn't like what they found.

"It was shocking," says class spokesperson Cheryl Tanche, 16. "You hear adults telling the youth that we're not old enough to drive and that we are dangerous."

"What kind of role models are they?"

In a 35-minute period on Sept. 10, the class noted a total of 188 traffic violations.

These included: 33 people who failed to signal, 65 cases of drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts; 18 examples of speeding; three U-turns; 11 cases of illegal parking; three cases where loads were unsafe; 20 rolling stops; 25 people who didn't have their headlights on; one person who didn't do a shoulder check, and six cases of people using faulty equipment.

They weren't scared to jump on those they know should know better -- they noted that their teacher, Ken Brown, drove off without his lights on.

"How did you get your licences?" Tanche says when asked if she and her comrades have any message for Fort Simpson drivers. "It was very upsetting."

For the record, the students set up their observation posts near the Visitor Information Centre, the post office, TJ's Grocery and the Nahanni Inn.