Zephyrhills, Fla. – The recent deaths of two Central Florida youths show the danger of “ghost riding” and other car stunts. Car stunts might look cool on reality shows, YouTube, and in the movies, but they are causing more accidents and heartaches for families and friends who are affected by their deadly consequences.
Nearly 100 people have died because of car surfing, with an estimated 70 percent of incidents involving young men, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Even slow speeds of five miles per hour can cause injuries and fatalities, as any loss of balance or bump in the road can force the rider to fall from the vehicle.
Car surfing is when one person hangs out of the vehicle or rides on top of it, on the bumper, or on the running boards. Ghost riding involves a person standing or dancing on the exterior while the vehicle is in motion. Skitching is when someone uses a skateboard, roller skates, or other device to hang onto a moving vehicle.
“Vehicular homicide is a very serious verdict for a stunt that usually starts out as innocent fun,” said Robert Alston, Zephyrhills auto accident lawyer. “Only professionals in controlled environments should be attempting this in a vehicle.”
Alston has represented many clients and cautions that the only way to be safe in a vehicle is to be restrained with a seatbelt, with proper vehicle maintenance and have a driver that is fully capable of driving safely. He has dealt with cases involving inexperienced drivers, improper tires, and incorrectly loaded vehicles in his more than 10 years of auto accident law practice.
“People underestimate the danger of holding onto a moving vehicle,” said Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Kim Montes. “Moving vehicles are not toys.”