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Throwing stones and manhole covers from bridges by young people is a complex problem with deep-rooted causes.

In the wake of dangerous incidents on highways involving objects being thrown off bridges, the question arises as to what drives young people to take such life-threatening actions. A recent incident on France's A9 motorway, where a double-decker bus was hit by a rock, and a tragic incident on a Walloon motorway, in which a Romanian trucker was killed after a similar attack, highlight the seriousness of this problem. These events of the past week raise the question: what drives young people to throw stones and manhole covers from a bridge?

According to experts in the field of youth psychology, several factors play a role in this destructive behavior. Adolescents are in a stage of life where they are experimenting with boundaries and authority. This search for excitement and sensation can encourage them to engage in risky behavior. For some, throwing objects from a bridge is a way to seek excitement and rebel against the established order. It can also be an expression of boredom or frustration.

In addition, peer pressure plays a crucial role. Young people may be encouraged by their friends to perform these types of dangerous stunts without fully considering the possible consequences. The presence of social media reinforces this effect; videos and photos of such actions can quickly go viral, providing a sense of fame and recognition among peers. In some cases this can be a motivation to commit increasingly extreme acts.

Another important aspect is the lack of awareness about the possible consequences of their actions. Young people often do not realize the seriousness and potentially fatal danger of throwing objects from a bridge. They don't realize that a rock or a manhole cover going through a windshield can destroy lives. This lack of empathy and understanding of consequences can be exacerbated by a sense of anonymity; perpetrators often believe they are invisible and elusive, which gives them a false sense of security to carry out their actions.

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The role of upbringing and environment should not be underestimated. Young people who grow up in an environment where violence and criminal behavior are normal are at a higher risk of exhibiting such behavior themselves. Lack of supervision and guidance by parents or guardians can contribute to the feeling of impunity and the tendency to behave recklessly. Research shows that young people from dysfunctional families or socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods are more often involved in criminal activities.

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viaduct
Photo: © Pitane Blue - viaduct over highway

Stricter safety measures on highways, such as installing higher fences on bridges, can create physical barriers that make it more difficult to throw objects. Law enforcement also plays a crucial role; identifying and punishing perpetrators can serve as a deterrent to future incidents.

Preventing such dangerous incidents requires a multifaceted approach. Raising awareness among young people about the consequences of their actions is essential. Educational programs that emphasize the seriousness of these behaviors and develop empathy can contribute to behavior change. In addition, it is important that parents, schools and communities work together to guide young people and provide positive role models.

incidents

In the night from Thursday to Friday, a double-decker bus from Staf Cars from Pelt in Limburg narrowly escaped a disaster. On a bridge over the French A9 motorway, near Béziers, a stone was thrown and flew through the windshield of the top floor of the bus. Despite the shock and damage, everyone on board was unharmed. Upon inspecting the bus, the bus driver noticed a large hole in the windshield of the upper floor. A stone, thrown by strangers, lay on the floor of the bus.

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Upon arrival at a parking lot, accompanied by the French police, it turned out that several vehicles had been victims of stones thrown from the bridge. “To my surprise I wasn't alone,” says the driver at the Gazet van Antwerpen. “Five passenger cars and three trucks were also hit by stones. A Spanish couple had a stone smash through their windshield, breaking off the gear lever. We were lucky compared to them.”

The incident brings back memories of a tragic incident on a Walloon highway, in which a Romanian trucker was killed after young people threw a sewer cover from a bridge into his cab. The 50-year-old man died at the scene, while his girlfriend, who was sleeping in the passenger seat, was unhurt and brought the vehicle to a safe stop. The Namur public prosecutor's office reports that five suspects have been arrested in that case, including two minors.

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