Youngsters in fast lane

The tragic death of 9-year-old Taybor Duncan of Aurora at Grand Junction Motor Speedway this past weekend has prompted questions by readers of The Daily Sentinel and other newspapers about whether children as young as Taybor should be racing motor vehicles that can travel as fast as 45 mph.

It is a reasonable question, and one that in no way is meant to cast doubt on the admirable safety record of the go-kart track north of Grand Junction.

By all accounts, Duncan was wearing the appropriate protective gear as she and other young drivers were on the track practicing.

But high-speed vehicles in young hands can create problems, even if the driver is wearing protective gear and has had driver training. Children that young don’t have the same level of hand-eye coordination, distance judgment or reaction time that teens and adults have.

We’re not about to argue for new government rules regulating who can drive and race go-karts. We’ve long been against that sort of excessive nannyism. Nor do we believe parents should try to keep their children from adventurous activity to protect them. Such sanctioned activities are usually far safer than unsupervised activities by children.

But we hope the track and the Colorado Junior Karting Association, which sponsored Sunday’s competition, will evaluate whether they should establish new age requirements for racing or speed limits for younger racers.

Meanwhile, we join countless Coloradans in offering our sincere condolences to Taybor Duncan’s family and friends.


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