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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Car Surfing: Teens are Dying For This Latest Thrill Ride

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This morning, I was watching the Today Show and could not believe what I was seeing. A Florida teen spoke about the dangers of “car surfing” which landed her in a 3 month coma on April 27, 2012. The teen lost her balance, fell backwards off the car, and struck her head hard on the pavement. She suffered a catastrophic brain injury; part of her skull remains on ice; she wears a helmet to protect her brain while the swelling decreases. Once the swelling subsides, doctors will hopefully, be able to to replace the sides of her skull.

The Florida teen is just one of the latest victims of a dangerous stunt that has apparently, been around for decades. For those new to this teen “thrill ride,” car-surfing involves hanging out of, or balancing on top of, a moving vehicle traveling at high speed. Teens have been killed across the country while engaging in this risky behavior. According to 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 58 people, mostly teenage guys, died in the U.S., between 1999 and 2008, due to injuries resulting from ‘car surfing”; 41 suffered non-fatal injuries.

Although this Florida teen miraculously survived, others were not so lucky. Just days before the Florida incident, a group of Georgia high school students decided to skip school to go car surfing. One of several teens hanging on the outside of an SUV was seriously injured when the vehicle overturned and crushed his legs. He was placed in medically induced coma. The driver was arrested and charged with hit-and-run, reckless driving, and driving without a license. Hanging on the outside of the vehicle or riding on the top are not the only forms of car surfing. In 2008, another Florida teen he died after banging his head on the pavement. He was riding in a shopping cart hooked to the bumper of a car. When the vehicle and the cart hit a speed bump, the teen was thrown 27 feet landing on his head.

If this information isn’t eye-opening enough, maybe this video clip that was played in a recent court room will help open yours. This incident was recorded from a cell phone of a “car surfing” participate. In this car surfing incident, the driver was going 75 mph in a 35 mph zone. The footage is the final moments in the lives of two of the teens clinging to the outside of an SUV.


Did you hear one of the teens say “If I die, remember this is Carlos's idea.” And, another voice, “This is insane.”? Those last words were absolutely right; car surfing is, indeed, insane.

As with any dangerous activity – texting and driving, driving under the influence and a host of other activities where kids believe they are invincible, parents need to be aware that this is going on. With the arrival of summer, teens have more driving freedom; now is a great time to talk to your teen about the dangers of car surfing. It is illegal and can result in criminal charges. It is also dangerous and deadly; ask those featured in this post.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.