Teenage driving fatalities on the rise


First Posted: 8/24/2009

Statewide, teenage highway fatalities are up more than 16 percent compared to last year. That is a major concern for the state highway patrol, and as a district for Surry and Yadkin counties, state highway patrol officials are hoping to slow that trend through education and enforcement.
Justin Dodson, first sergeant with the North Carolina Highway Patrol over Surry and Yadkin counties, said as school starts he wants to remind teenagers to drive safely.
We just want to remind these teenagers that as they go back to school, we want to remind them to wear their seat belts, dont speed, refrain from talking on the cell phone or texting pay attention to the graduated drivers license driving laws, Dodson said.
Trooper Rex Carter will be permanently assigned to high schools in Surry and Yadkin counties.
Its that important to us, that we are going to take someone off the road and put them in the schools. Hes going to get to build relationships with school administrators and students. He will also work enforcement zones around the high schools in Surry and Yadkin counties, Dodson said.
Dodson said parents can help the highway patrols effort by talking to their teenage drivers at home.
We just want to remind parents to sit down and speak with their teenagers about the dangers of driving. And, to also be a good example for their teenager, because they are going to learn by what they see.
Dodson said he has scheduled traffic safety courses at local high schools. Troopers will also have a greater presence at sporting events this year.
We want to speak with the student body and remind of them of these safety issues again, because its not all about enforcement, its about education.
Troopers will have a greater presence at high schools in the mornings and in the afternoons as well.
If our presence will help change a teenagers driving behavior and it makes their route from school to home even safer, thats our goal. We are concerned about the teenagers and their driving. We want to make a difference, to save lives. Thats what its all about, said Dodson.
Troopers will also be partnering with Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, local police departments and sheriff departments, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving.
We couldnt do it without them. We are in this together, Dodson said.
We want to make it a safe school year for both Surry and Yadkin counties. We want to try to curb these teenage fatalities and teenage collisions. If it saves lives, its going to be worth it.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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