Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 6:16 am | Fair 53º


Letter to the Editor: Foreign Students Should Learn Rules of the Road

I have housed foreign students for over 18 years from all over the world and truly enjoyed it. I have also lived all over the world. But the saying, "When in Rome do as the Romans" is an issue to be taken seriously.

Annually, we are flooded with enormous numbers of foreign students. I feel it is the schools' responsibility to educate and quiz the students on local rules that can save their lives — and ours — making sure they fully comprehend laws, rules and common courtesies.

Today an Asian girl walked out crossing Cliff Drive while the turning arrow was on for cars to turn onto Cliff Drive from Carrillo Boulevard. She caused cars to pile up, screeching breaks and nearly slamming into a signal. She didn’t seem fazed by what she caused, and when I pointed to the red do not walk sign, she just walked on kind of shrugging.

Two days later in the Friday evening traffic, I was coming across town on Modoc from Goleta to Santa Barbara. At the signal on Las Positas it was my turn to cross heading along Modoc when out of the left shot an Asian boy on a bike crossing on a red light right in front of my 3/4-ton truck. I threw the brakes on and skidded sideways into the intersection slightly to avert killing him. Two vehicles behind me screeched and nearly slammed into me going much faster than I was. I pointed to the red signal, but he just rode on as though nothing had happened. He could have been dead right then.

Both of these students were very fortunate.

This is not China, Japan or Korea, where traffic is horrendous. This is not Italy or Russia or India either. They need to follow the laws and learn before they are on bikes and in fancy cars.

My last student paid $38,000 cash for a used, fast, sleek car. His friend bought a Mercedes and the other a Bentley. CASH. They took a driving test here all together each telling the other the answers. They got the license (two did not pass the first time) and headed immediately down to Los Angeles to buy a car from an Asian guy who gives them one-day insurance to drive back to Santa Barbara. All friends going together and following each other back from L.A.

My student had never driven in China or in his life before this. He got a ticket immediately for speeding at 89 MPH in L.A. He got several more in Santa Barbara the first week. He said he was going the speed of traffic. He was supposed to go to traffic school but let his dad pay the fines instead.

A Korean girl was angry she could not get a pink car. She ended up buying a white, fancy, convertible for cash in L.A. She pulled into my driveway and took out the entire side of my car. She had never parked a car before. She moved out the next day. Her one-day insurance did not cover the car damage, and she had to call her father to pay for the damages.

None of my students would buy auto insurance. That probably means none of the others are doing so either. I told them they could not drive unless they bought it. But they complained that in their country they never buy insurance. I said buy it. They moved out, and I reported them to the school. I doubt anything got done about it because the schools don’t want to lose the vital income. If you house a driving student, check their insurance. A biking student, teach them rules.

Things have got to change or hold the educational facilities responsible since they are bringing them in by the droves!

Deborah Barnes
Santa Barbara

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