The latest street-racing incident down Highway 99 - involving millions of dollars worth of sports cars allegedly driven by Richmond teenagers - proves that driver educa-tion is needed more than ever.
That's the firm belief of one of the organizers behind the long-running Resist The Race (RTR) program, set up in 2002 after the death in Richmond of RCMP Const. Jimmy Ng and which focuses on helping youth understand the consequences of criminal and aggressive driving.
But while RTR's executive director, Jacob Ung, said young drivers need to be taught to respect their vehicles and other road users, he also asked questions of the parents connected to the million-dollar street race.
"Education is something that I'm very passionate about. But when I look at the latest incident, I have to say, 'where are the parents?' Ung said.
"That's what I would be asking. How are these young people being supported?
"I think there really needs to be a public shaming of the drivers and their parents. I'm from an Asian culture and that's the way to hurt these people, that's the Asian way."
Nevertheless, RTR still has a vital role to play and the fact there hasn't been a death linked to street racing since the program kicked off shows it's working, said Ung, whose branding and marketing company, Blitzgear, has been involved with RTR since 2006.
"I think the biggest difference from before is that it was souped-up cars that were involved in street racing," he said.
"Now it's factory cars and I think the toughest part is that the driver training is really not done properly. We're not teaching them to respect the vehicle and the road. We have to show them the dangers."
RTR couldn't do the work it does without the support of the Auto West car dealership in Richmond, whose founder, Joachim Neumann, wanted to help save lives by breaking down the stereotype that luxury cars equal street racing.
The dealership has loaned out two Mini Cooper sports cars over the years to RTR, to help the program spread its message.
"We believe in this very strongly because we have a sense of responsibility to make sure the cars are driven in a responsible manner," said Auto West's Jason So.
"We host owners evenings, which are very interactive experiences when the people learn about their vehicle.
"A big proportion of our clients are newcomers to Canada and we also have language specific things going on. I think we do help them become much more aware of the vehicle's safety features."
Ung said he acknowledges that many young people have a desire to go fast and do adrenalin-pumping activities.
"There are other avenues to express that need for speed," he said.
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