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Most dangerous drivers are teenagers & millenials
Opinion

Routinely I hear complaints lodged at the City Council level about the speeding and wild and reckless driving in Ceres.

This, of course, is not a Ceres only issue. It’s everywhere and it seemed to worsen after the COVID lockdowns as some drivers took their aggression out on the road.

For years I had heard that it was the older set who was the danger behind the wheel. Not so.

A new study by personal injury law specialists John Foy & Associates reveals that millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – who are a significant danger. The firm analyzed 2022 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to find the number of drivers involved in crashes by different age groups. They then ranked each generation in terms of drivers involved in crashes per one million residents.

Millennials take the crown as the most dangerous generation on the road, with 50,291 drivers in crashes per million – working out to a troubling 30.26% of all crashes. More specifically it’s the 27-year-olds with the highest amount of drivers involved in crashes.

Despite not legally allowed to drive, minors under the age of 14 were in 3,552 crashes involving with 43 fatalities!

The single highest at-risk age across every generation was found to be 19-year-olds, with a staggering 299,376 in crashes and 1,215 fatal.

22-year-olds were found to be the age with the highest number of fatal accidents, with 1,382 drivers of that age involved in fatal crashes.

Generation Z – those born between 1997 and 2012 – ranks at second with a rate of 38,221 drivers in crashes per one million – equaling out to just under a quarter (23%) of all crashes. 

Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 - is third on the list, with a rate of 36,799 drivers in crashes per million. As a percentage, Generation X drivers account for 22.15% of all crashes.

In fourth place are Baby Boomers, with a rate of 22,509 drivers in crashes per million persons. There were found to be 22,509 crashes involving Baby Boomer drivers, with 11,207 of those being fatal. Within the Baby Boomer age bracket (those born 1946 to 1980), 59-year-olds were most likely to be involved in a crash (137,221), which accounts for 8.05% of all Baby Boomer driver crashes.

The Silent Generation – those born between 1928 and 1945 – saw the lowest rate of crashes per million of any generation. In that group, 13,450 drivers per million persons were in crashes, with 2,681 of those being fatal.


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Speaking of bad crashes, it’s unfortunate that the 59-year-old male bicyclist became the victim of his own unsafe and illegal practices last week. The man darted eastbound across Mitchell Road from Adrien Way on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 15, maneuvered between a break in the center median and was struck before he could get to the other side. For some unknown reason the driver of the northbound Chevy Suburban didn’t see him and they collided.

I don’t know this gentleman and feel sorry that he was struck. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I wish he had ridden south to the light at Hatch Road, crossed as a pedestrian at his right-of-way and proceeded to wherever he was headed.

Bicyclists have laws to follow too. A certain class of people seems to throw caution to the wind when riding bicycles in Stanislaus County. Often I see grown men peddling against traffic instead of with it and dart in and out of traffic as though they had a death wish.


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Republicans in Sacramento last week called on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to be honest and transparent about the impact a series of proposed regulations will have on California’s already exorbitant gas prices. Californians pay on average $1.65 more per gallon than the national average. (By the way, on May 6 in Minnesota I paid $2.97 per gallon for regular).

In a letter to Air Resources Board chair Liane M. Randolph (signed by every Republican member of the Assembly and Senate), lawmakers objected to an update to the low carbon fuel standard that the board projected could raise gas prices by more than 50 cents a gallon, as well as an apparent effort by the board to walk back their estimate of the plan’s impact on consumers.

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City) called out Gov. Newsom for Californians being forced to pay highest gas prices in the country. Gallagher said Newsom is being “flat-out dishonest … to complain about high gas prices while his administration works behind the scenes to jack up costs even more.” Republicans note that high taxes and expensive mandates on refineries are to blame, not price gouging.

In March Governor Newsom signed a law he claimed would “bring Big Oil to its knees” and lower gas costs by ending so-called price gouging. Since then, California gas prices have soared 45 cents a gallon - and the gap between California’s average and the national average has increased nearly 30 cents per gallon.

Newsom’s gas tax will increase again on July 1, spiking the price of gas for consumers yet again. Despite Newsom stating he wants to bring down prices, he has no plans to halt the two-cent per gallon hike.

The GOP letter also raised concerns about expensive new restrictions proposed to the cap-and-trade program and the Newsom administration’s refusal to be honest about the costs to consumers of the proposed changes.

State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa, said CARB’s “aggressive state action is just another fee or tax being tacked on to penalize a majority of Californians who drive gas cars.”

The letter was sent ahead of a of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee, at which Newsom administration officials faced questioning about the state’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices.


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The arrogance of Gavin Newsom knows no bounds. He is suing in an attempt to block the Taxpayer Protection Act measure from being voted on after 1.4 million voters signed a petition to qualify it for the Nov. 5 ballot.

Remember this when you hear Newsom accuse Trump and Republicans of election interference.

Californians have a constitutional right to place referendums on the ballot!

The back story is politicians have found creative ways to raise taxes with no public vote. Newsom and his party would love to get rid of Prop. 13, the landmark taxpayer protection act passed in 1978. Prop. 13, the Jarvis-Gann initiative ended the rampant property tax increase, limiting them to no higher than 2 percent annually – unless the property changes hands.

The proposed initiative would do a protect taxpayers, by:

• Requiring a public vote on all state tax hikes, including gas taxes and car registration fees.

• Forbidding deceptive ballot measure titles, such as the one that duped voters into voting against a measure that would have repealed a gas tax in 2018.

• Changing the definition of “fee” so that politicians can’t call a tax a “fee” to allow them to fly underneath voters, such as prohibiting a mileage fee or the income based electricity fee scheme (socialism). 

• Requiring a two-thirds majority vote for tax increases at the local level and eliminate the loophole of a simple majority vote.

• Invalidating any tax increase after Jan. 1, 2022 and force them to undergo reconsideration under the new rules set if the new measure passes.

Newsom, of course, wants the power to continue hiking taxes without the say of voters. In fact, his office has suggested that voters are too stupid on such matters. Newsom’s legal team argues that “voters simply do not have the capacity” to decide on “complicated” matters like tax hikes. That comment set off Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, who said that for Newsom to argue he and state politicians are “somehow smarter than the voters is patently offensive.”

In response to Newsom’s argument that government would run out of money if it can’t raise taxes, DeMaio offered this response in his brief: “The reality is state and local governments in California have more than enough money to fulfill their duties for providing essential government functions. In fact, state and local government in California has gone far beyond ‘essential government functions’ to create unnecessary government programs for functions that should be private matters, not government obligations.”

Newsom’s suit is now before the California State Supreme Court which is expected to rule by June 20.


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Here are more stats about California:

• New research by Moneywise has shed light on seniors in California being the greatest risk of bankruptcy, while Iowa as the most secure.

• California is the third state where buying a house will be the most expensive in 2030. Hawaii is first and Nevada second.

• California may be the most environmentally friendly state, according to IT Asset Management Group (IT-AMG), across five key sustainability metrics: eco-friendly vehicles, emissions, recycling, energy and waste but is the second out of 50 states for the highest rate of unemployment.

• California is second highest in the nation for unemployment benefits per 100,000.


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Ceres resident Shirley Rogers isn’t too pleased with the city’s plans to replace the gazebo in Whitmore Park at a cost that could reach $700,000.

I, too, don’t see why Vice Mayor Bret Silveira pushed for the replacement of the existing gazebo.

Of course, the city wouldn’t even be talking about such an extravagant expenditure were it not for federal ARPA funds that dropped down from the skies. The City Council allocated a half-million dollars to the project to combine with $200,000 in grant funds.

I had editorialized on this in November and stated that I had checked out the gazebo and it appears quite solid and had a brand-new roof.

The sudden push to replace the gazebo came out of nowhere while ignoring an obvious need to do something about the appearance of the Ceres water tower which is perhaps the largest example of blight in the community. Keep in mind the community has expressed concerns about the tower going back years. 

It’s all about priorities, which are subjective at best. I applaud Rogers for calling an end for the expenditure but it’s likely no amount of protest will pre-empt the plans since the city has spent $65,940 on design work by O’Dell Engineering.


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There is a dear Catholic gentleman of kindred spirits who has been an encouragement to me. We see eye-to-eye with a lot of what’s going on in our world.

He forwarded me an op-ed by a Catholic who reflected on how deceived the world has become. Specifically writer Bill Donohue in his piece called “The War on Science,” writes about the widespread acceptance (or pretending for fear of being doxed) of this lie that men can be women and women can be men. Donohue writes: “To be explicit, there is no such thing as a transgender person. It is a fiction. We are either male or female (intersex persons are not a third sex).”

Donohue goes on: “In a sane society, those who teach that the sexes are interchangeable, and that two people of the same sex can realistically marry and have a baby, should be fired for misrepresenting science. They are more akin to the devotees of the Flat Earth Society than they are to serious scholars.”

This leads me to a story I read about a Riverside County PE teacher (a Christian) whose district came down hard on her for not kowtowing to the modern-day lie about transgenderism. Jessica Tapia refused to go along with California’s charade of using students’ preferred pronouns (typically a false pronouns) as well as voiced her concern about not revealing students’ gender identities parents. She took a medical leave of absence through December 2022 due to severe mental and emotional anguish because she was torn between agreeing to conditions that caused her to violate her religious beliefs or losing the job she worked her entire life for,” the lawsuit stated. She defied her district and was fired. Tapia sued with the district finally settling with a payout – but she can’t get her job back. I hope the settlement stung because it was wrong of the district.

Tapia stood for truth when she told the district: “The lies and confusion that children are fed in terms of ‘you aren’t who you were created to be’ is based in evil and I will not take part in that. I believe that God created male and female.”

Of course, the settlement was worded that the district doesn’t admit any fault or wrongdoing but it was wrong.


This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.  How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at jeffb@cerescourier.com