The Norwegian Government Issued A Request For High School Graduates To Stop Having Sex On Roundabouts For Safety Reasons
There are lots of reasons Scandinavian governments are far more exemplary than ours. There are the Finnish baby boxes, for instance; the Norwegian "allemannsrett" laws, which let you pitch a tent anywhere you like; plus socialized health care, hefty pensions, and other social safety nets we sorely lack here in the States. And now, there's yet another reason to start plotting a move to the North — Norway's government has asked high school graduates not to have sex on roundabouts to avoid distracting drivers, which they've managed to do in a way that doesn't chastise young Norwegians, but still adheres to safety laws.
As reported by Reuters, there's a tradition in Norway called "Russ," in which high school graduates are invited to party hard to celebrate having made it through their (rather excellent) undergraduate education. Before they attend one of Norway's tuition-free universities (again, Norway > United States), they get very drunk and, like most drunk teens, run around having relations with each other. Apparently, this often leads to graduates running around naked and boning one other on bridges and traffic circles, which you can imagine causes a few driving hazards. Unfortunately, this has led to some fatalities involving young drivers, hence why the Norwegian government has stepped in, warning teens their debauchery could give folks on the road "too much of a surprise."
"Everyone understands that being in and around roundabouts is a traffic hazard," Terje Moe Gustavsen, who runs Norway's Public Roads Administration, told Reuters. "It may not be so dangerous for someone to be without clothes on the bridge, but drivers can get too much of a surprise and completely forget that they are driving."
Russ is apparently a real mess: according to a 2010 Reddit AMA, the OP described it as "a really crazy tradition" in which graduates go on a three-week bender, dress up in red and blue overalls, and spend thousands of dollars renting out party busses. Per the thread:
A couple of weeks before our final exams (yes, BEFORE our exams) we have a three week long party. A lot of people save up money and plan for this for years.
So, everyone wears red or blue overalls and most people decorate them. And you get all your friends drunken signatures on them. And you have to wear em EVERY day for three weeks and you're not allowed to wash them.
Now comes the fun part. You also have a funny hat with a thread on it. And every year there's made up a list of dares, and if you complete a dare, you get a knot or some kind of symbol on your thread. The dares are pretty wild.
According to the OP, dares include: pole-dancing on a crowded street, having sex in the woods, attending class only in your underwear, reading a porn magazine out loud in class, and eating a Big Mac in two bites.
But while the Russ is undoubtedly a good time, it has a dark side. According to Norwegian website News in English, some dares really do go too far. The push for promiscuity has left some students with meningitis, for instance, and the binge-drinking has led to some fatalities, hence why the Norwegian government is stepping in this year.
What I appreciate, though, is that the government isn't demonizing young Norwegians for celebrating, so much as they're warning them off of some of their more stupid antics. In the United States, where we have such strict drug and alcohol laws that young folks can get suspended, expelled, or even imprisoned for getting caught doing something all the other kids are doing, it seems like lives are ruined more often than bad behavior's deterred. It seems like in Norway, at least the preventative measures or more achievable.