John B. Roberts II ["Responsible Ads Would Help Teen Drivers," letters, Oct. 6] believes that ads by carmakers should be regulated by the government to prevent teenagers from speeding and racing.

That misses the most basic way to stop teenagers from driving dangerously: parents. From an early age, children need to be taught that what they see on TV is not real -- including the commercials -- and that they should not emulate what they see. Being "impressionable" can be corrected with basic parenting.

In addition, children and teenagers need to be taught responsibility. Passing the blame from the teenager who was drag-racing to commercials reinforces the "it's not my fault" syndrome.

If someone is drag-racing, it is that person's fault. He or she knew it was wrong and knew about something called a speed limit.

We need to enforce the laws and make sure that everyone -- including teens -- knows that there are consequences for breaking the law.


Falls Church

The recent deaths of several teenagers because of reckless behavior were tragic ["Rolling Party Barges," editorial, Oct. 3]. But The Post's assessment that these senseless losses could have somehow been averted by roadblock campaigns is misguided.

Roadblocks are highly visible by design and usually well publicized, so they are all too easily avoided by those with disregard for the law.

Roving patrols are considerably more effective in getting dangerous drivers off the road. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that "the number of DWI arrests made by the roving patrol program was nearly three times the average number of DWIs made by the checkpoint programs."

Common sense says teenagers won't drive recklessly past police roadblocks. To prevent further needless heartache, we need to put more police officers on the street looking for teenagers -- and adults -- who drive unsafely.


Executive Director

American Beverage Institute