Turning 16 is a grand milestone for most teens. Their driver’s license gives them their first real taste of freedom. But combine that with a 3,000-pound car and their invincible mentality and teens hit the fast lane to danger. [Rocky Mount Telegram, July 31, 2010]
North Carolina has seen a 40% decrease in teenage driver fatalities this year, compared to a similar period in 2009. That demonstrates the amazing start of what everyone hopes will be a long-term trend. And with the continuing teen driver programs of the N.C. Highway Patrol, those hopes may very well be realized.
According to an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram, Operation Drive to Live and other programs are focusing on reinforcing safe driving practices. According to the article:
“No one can prevent all fatalities, but we can raise awareness. We can help people to realize the consequences of making bad decisions,” [1st Sgt. Martin] Jones said. “We will use a case from May where a 17-year-old ran a stop sign to educate others; because that is all it takes, one brief moment of unclear thought. As tragic as that death is, it will be used to save other lives.”
The state-wide Operation Drive to Live ended in June, but more efforts will be ramped up for the new school year. At the top of the Highway Patrol’s priority list is to reduce the incidence of speeding through vigilance and new technology. After all, speed is the leading cause of traffic fatalities.
“We are going to use the LIDAR more, which (is more accurate than traditional radar units, can reach thousands of feet to measure speed and distance and) is very undetectable,” [Highway Patrol Lt. Keith] Stone said. “We can use it without being seen.” [Rocky Mount Telegram]
So teenagers aren’t the only ones who need to watch speed limits a little more closely. FYI–if you want to report drunk drivers, speeders, crashes, or other highway situations, simply dial *HP (for Highway Patrol) on your cell phone!
All of us here at HensonFuerst are proud of the work of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and we support all efforts to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths on our roads. We’ll keep you posted on new programs as they are announced.
The children are our future…but only if they stay alive past high school.