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Car Surfing Is a Dangerous Pastime for Teen Drivers

Craig McClellan

One of the latest reckless stunts that teens across the nation are engaging in is called car surfing. While not a new phenomenon (think classic car-surfing scene in the original Footloose), it has seen a recent resurgence in the headlines, with a number of teens suffering serious injuries and even death in some cases.

Shreddin’ the Car

Car surfing occurs when teens ride on the outside of a car while it is in motion. Someone thrown from a moving vehicle—even traveling as slow as 5 mph—can be catastrophically injured or killed. Unfortunately, it is also common to receive serious brain injuries in these types of accidents. A study to identify all cases of neurological injuries secondary to car surfing was conducted from the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital trauma database. There were 7 patients 16 or younger were reviewed.

All had traumatic head injuries from car surfing accidents. The statistics also showed:

  • All 7 children suffered intracranial bleeding
  • 4 children suffered skull fractures
  • 1 patient underwent craniotomy
  • 4 patients had permanent neurological problems.

While officials do not track individuals injured in car surfing accidents, a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected news clippings of reported car surfing incidents. In the 18-year span from 1990 to 2008, 58 teens died from car surfing and 41 others were injured.

While that may not seem like a large number, the last few months have seen the deaths of two teens and at least two others are in medically-induced comas after being involved in car surfing accidents. Safety advocates are concerned that these numbers will continue to increase now that school is out and teens are spending more time behind the wheel. If you have a teenage driver, talk to them about the risks of such thrill-seeking behavior and keep tabs on their summertime activities.

Don’t Let Your Teen Become a Statistic

Statistics are showing an increase in car surfing injuries, especially in the states of California, Florida, and Texas. Teen driver accidents, no matter how reckless, should be handled with care and experience. If your teen has been injured in a car collision, contact us today for a free initial consultation and insightful advice on what your next steps should be.