“Car surfing” has killed 58 people: health officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health officials warned young people on Thursday against “car surfing” in which a person rides on top of a moving vehicle, and said at least 58 people had died doing it since 1990.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report that injuries or deaths were reported in 31 states, mainly in the Midwest and the South of the United States. Head injuries killed 45 of the 58 victims.

“We strongly recommend that teens not engage in this type of behavior. It’s just too risky. It’s just too dangerous,” the CDC’s Dr. John Halpin said in a telephone interview.

Halpin said the origins of “car surfing” were not clear, but it has appeared in movies, for example in the 1985 film “Teen Wolf”.

People were killed when falling off cars driving at speeds ranging from 5 mph to 80 mph, the CDC said. Alcohol or drugs were involved in six of the deaths. Most of those hurt or killed were boys. Their average age was 17-1/2.

The CDC said the report was based on newspaper accounts of 58 deaths and 41 nonfatal accidents from 1990 through this year.

“Despite the potentially lethal consequences of this activity, car surfing shows no evidence of decreasing popularity,” the CDC report stated.

(Editing by David Storey)

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