Thursday, March 8, 2012

Teen Angel is a Drive Down Memory Lane

Every now and then you hear about Operation Teen Angel which has become a very effective program to counter teen fatalities and injuries in traffic accidents. But did you ever wonder where the name came from?

It actually is the name of a song by Mark Dinning in 1960. It was one of numerous teenage tragedy songs of the time. These songs became popular because they reflected what was going on during that timeframe which was an increase in teenage traffic fatalities. Throughout the Depression and then into World War II, the availability of cars for teenage drivers to use was very limited. Remember Roosevelt’s campaign promise of “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage”. After World War II the economy improved, resulting in increased vehicle demand and production. This was the first time in our history where the availability of fast transportation met the vulnerability of teenage exuberance. The result was often the teen tragedies described in the songs.

As a young boy in the early 1960’s, I was taken aback by songs like “Tell Laura I Love Her”; “The Last Kiss”, and ultimately “Teen Angel” - songs which reflected the tragedy of teenagers killed in car accidents. So when we needed a name for our new traffic initiative aimed at keeping our children safe, I dug down into my past and remembered the song “Teen Angel”.

I know it is the program that makes the difference and this program has been very successful in protecting our teenagers from themselves but, none-the-less, I thought that you may be interested in knowing just where the name came from. I also thought you may enjoy listening to this song, so here is a YouTube hyperlink.