Negligent driving habits stem from culture and media

Cindy Cuadra/Contributing writer


Anyone driving in Miami probably encounters a reckless driver at least once or twice a day. It’s no surprise then that Miami is ranked No. 8 in Thrillist’s list of 20 cities with the worst drivers in the United States. Although Miami locals are completely aware of the reckless driving reputation that Miami continues to uphold, not much seems to change.

So where does the problem stem from? Generations of negligent habits could possibly be part of the problem. Miami is a melting pot of beautiful, different cultures; perhaps these habits stem from the popular tradition of learning to drive from parents, without considering the ways in which those parents – often born in different countries with more lenient driving laws – were taught themselves.

Habits such as slowing down only if a cop is around, or slightly bumping the back of someone’s vehicle the second the light turns green are only a couple of the numerous poor habits that have been passed down.

Video games such as “Grand Theft Auto”, “Need for Speed” and “Gran Turismo” and movies like the “Fast and the Furious” franchise have also been part of the problem. They promote the misconception that driving fast is “cool” or that driving while drinking is acceptable.

As entertaining as these games and movies are, adolescents are impressionable; they need to be taught by their parents or guardians that they should never re-enact those scenes in real life. Most video games and movies even have a disclaimer before the gamer or viewer continues on to the feature presentation.

Additionally, some of these video games often influence adolescents to participate in illegal street racing. This issue has rapidly become one of the biggest problems Miami-Dade police officers face every week because it’s either ignored, as it happens late into the night, or it goes unnoticed until someone gets hurt.

According to an article by NBC 6 Miami, state troopers had to go undercover on Okeechobee Road to bust an illegal street racing event with about 1,000 cars lined up for questioning. These hazardous events not only put the driver’s life at risk, but also endanger the innocent lives of those driving on the streets late at night.

Nonetheless, Miami has seen some improvement in the last few years regarding DUI arrests. A Miami Herald article, published in January of this year, claims that DUI arrests in Miami Beach have rapidly dropped since 2010, when they were at an all-time high of 1,299 DUI arrests.

This past year, Miami Beach police officers have arrested only 138 intoxicated drivers. According to the article, one reason for the decline in DUI arrests is because of ride-sharing services, namely Uber whose services peak past midnight in Miami. Still, while Miami has made some progress, it has not changed the reckless driving that non-intoxicated drivers still participate in. There are still many avoidable deaths and accidents that occur every minute.

Driving shouldn’t be seen as a right but a privilege that is everyone’s responsibility to keep. It begins by enforcing everyone in a car to wear a seat belt, slowing down at a yellow light rather than speeding up and driving at the speed limit.
Additionally, as Panthers, it includes following the university rules: letting pedestrians walk the crosswalks when at an intersection, stopping at red lights and being courteous to other fellow students trying to find parking.  As our generation becomes older, it’s up to us to set an example as to what proper driving etiquette is supposed to look like to the new generation of drivers. We must be the change we want to see.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community



Image by Sean MacEntee, retrieved from Flickr:


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