Local News

Driving Safety Stressed As High School Graduations Commence

Posted May 30, 2002

— As high schools across the Triangle hold graduation ceremonies, students are being reminded about safety behind the wheel.

Graduation distractions can be exciting, and deadly.

A year ago, three Leesville High School students and a Sanderson High School student were killed during a high-speed crash on the last day of school.

"You just have to, you know what I'm saying, be safe after the graduation and buckle up and don't drink and drive and stuff like that," said Lamont Holden, a graduuating senior.

Holden and his classmates know those familiar rules, but the UNC Highway Research Center suggests a new one for parents of teen drivers: Limit their passengers.

"Kids are very active these days. They're always going and doing, so it's kind of hard to say you can't take someone with you," said parent Jenny White.

Perhaps parents should. The UNC research shows teens with two or more passengers are five times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident.

Anna White lost three friends in a graduation weekend wreck two years ago.

"They were going around a curve at 100 miles an hour and they wrecked and hit a tree," she said.

Many students know someone who has had a serious accident, but that does not stop them from piling in cars.

White already told her daughter to keep the crowd out of her car, especially this weekend.

"Always be responsible for who is in your car, because one quick second could alter your life forever," she said.

Parents and students have a number of safe ways to celebrate.

Wake County hosts Project Graduation at Dorton Arena. Students party all night with adult supervision. There is no alcohol and no late-night driving.

Many parents will opt to chauffeur their kids to and from parties, and some party hosts allow the partygoers to sleep over so no one has to drive.

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