Car Surfing Among Teens Leads to Severe Brain Injuries and Even Death

Eight teenagers in Georgia decided to skip class one morning and cruise around the neighborhood in a classmate’s SUV. Three teens rode outside of the SUV, holding onto the roof and sides. When the SUV took a corner too fast, the vehicle rolled, crushing the legs of one of the teens that had been riding on the side. One teen ended up in a medically-induced coma.

A group of Florida teens took turns riding outside an SUV on a dirt road. As the vehicle’s speed increased to over 70 mph, the teens realized that they were going to crash and screamed at the driver to stop. Two teens were killed in the fatal car accident.

Another 16-year-old was standing on the trunk of a moving car when she was thrown from the vehicle. She sustained a severe brain injury and is now in a medically-induced coma.

These three car accident tales are, unfortunately, becoming more common as teenagers are being swept into the thrill-seeking craze of car surfing. Car surfing has been around for years, but apparently is making a resurgence if these recent headlines are any indication.

According to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1990 to 2008, at least 58 people died in car surfing accidents and another 41 were injured. This information is purely anecdotal, gathered from newspaper reports, as hospitals and emergency rooms do not gather this specific data. The study found that car surfing is more popular in the Midwest and South – and over 70 percent of those involved in car surfing incidents were teenage males.

With school out for summer, safety experts are concerned that this craze will continue to grow. Teenage drivers have more freedom in the summer, and more time to get into trouble. The number of car accidents involving teens in the summer months typically increases, so, unfortunately, it stands to reason that reports of car surfing incidents may also increase.

Source: USA, “Teens at high risk in car surfing,” 5/21/12.