Koruth was a victim of a seemingly isolated incident; however, after further investigation, his story is quite similar to others at Leesville.
“It was a completely regular day,” said Koruth. “As I came back from lunch, I attempted to cross the [parking lot access] road. Just as I stepped out into the street, a gold Camry sped in.”
The car was estimated to be traveling about 45 mph. “It all happened so fast so I just acted on my instincts and leaped backwards,” Koruth recalled.
Koruth is not the only one who has had a close encounter with a reckless driver. CJ Kimmerly, junior, was part of an event somewhat similar to Koruth’s.
“On the third day of school, some kid pulled into his parking space and scraped my bumper,” said Kimmerly. The accident was not Kimmerly’s fault, but there was $400 of damage. Along with many of the other student drivers at Leesville, Kimmerly considers himself a “safe driver.”
When asked about his insight concerning what causes accidents in the parking lot, Kimmerly replied simply, “There are a lot of people in the parking lot who don’t know how to drive.”
One of the most recent accidents involved Dowon Cha, junior. Cha has a very unique personality and is one of the few drivers in Leesville’s parking lot who will admit that he is not a safe driver. Cha has been driving for 8 months and describes his driving style as “road rage.”
While Cha admits to his inexperience, he claims that he is a safe driver in the context of te the parking lot. Cha has been in one accident where both cars backed up into each other. He claims the accident was not his fault and refuses to claim responsibility for his actions, saying that he is “not paying.”
Koruth feels the requirements for driving are too lenient. “I have no clue how a lot of kids pass drivers ed,” said Koruth. “Some kids think they can speed into the parking lot with reckless abandon. I’m afraid for my life almost every time I set foot in the parking lot.”
These statements are clearly not aimed at all student drivers at Leesville; however, unfortunately, those drivers who strive to obey traffic laws are becoming harder to find.
“Overall, the quality of drivers has been fairly consistent since I’ve been here,” said Mr. Lyons, Principal. Lyons strongly believes in letting students drive because of the opportunities available with the freedom of driving oneself. Many students are able to participate in athletics, church groups and other extracurricular activities. Some students would not be able to be active in after school activities without the ability to drive themselves. “Many of the drivers in the parking lot are inexperienced. They need to pay attention 100% to the road,” said Lyons.
While the quality of drivers has been fairly consistent in the long term, the change from last has been drastic, according to Officer Fred Maddocks, Leesville’s resource officer. Maddocks said that administrators and teachers have warned him of the unprecedented decline in student drivers from last year.
Officer Maddocks has responded to seven accidents since August 26 and does not expect that trend to stop. He wishes that student drivers would pay attention to their surroundings and slow down; however he thinks that a major accident must occur in order for students to, “wake up.”
Maddocks agreed with the majority of students and facult when he said, “Student drivers are in a hurry.” Maddocks believes that the biggest reason for accident on Leesville’s campus is, “inattention, inexperience and the fact that students are in a hurry, especially at lunch.”
In general, the underlying cause of accidents in inexperienced drivers seems to be impatience. Koruth and Lyons both agree that the inexperience of student drivers causes the majority of accidents, on and around Leesville’s campus.
Lyons described a specific dangerous event that many Leesville students take part in on a daily baisis. “On O’Neal road in the morning, some students coming from the direction of the Leesville Plaza cross the double yellow line to pass cars when the traffic starts to build up,” said Lyons.
Leesville’s administration strives to make the parking lot conducive to inexperienced drivers. For instance, the new lunch pass policy, where students show their lunch passes on the way up to the parking lot, has been put in place due to the many near accidents while students look down to put their lunch pass away. Lyons has witnessed some of these close calls and was concerned for the safety of Leesville students.
When it comes down to the facts, no one knows Leesville’s parking lot like Mr. George Hill. George’s tenure of six years at Leesville has made him a seasoned veteran of the Leesville’s campus. George describes the student drivers as, “pretty good this year, they’ve been been doing what they’re supposed to for the most part.”
George has seen “a couple” of accidents this year. Most accidents are caused by “inattention,” according to George. “They’re [the students] talking to their friends or are just not paying attention,” said George.
Many people believe that the quality of student drivers at Leesville has become worse this year.
No concrete evidence is apparent to conclude that the quality of drivers in Leesville’s parking lot has changed from years past. At the end of the day, driving to school is a privilege, and it should not be abused.