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Raleigh Youth Council hopes to curb teen driving deaths

Posted January 23, 2012

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— A driving initiative in Raleigh is seeking to reduce the number of teen driving deaths and crashes. 

Enloe High School student Alex Hatfield said two recent fatal wrecks, one including a fellow Enloe student, highlight the dangers teens can face behind the wheel. 

"That definitely made it hit home, that this could happen to anybody," Hatfield said Monday. 

Hatfield is part of the Raleigh Youth Council's Teen Safe Driving Initiative, which recently got a $17,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation to help educate teens. 

"We felt there was a need and then with the unfortunate recent events of the two teenagers from this area that died in auto accidents, we've really wanted to step up our word," youth adviser Daniel Price said. 

Price said the group is using some of the funds to host a series of informational sessions led by Raleigh police officers, focusing on distracted driving, driving while impaired and speeding. The idea is to get teens who attend the meetings to share the message with others. They will also ask peers to sign safe driving pledges and host other outreach events. 

"We feel that's a powerful tool for teens to learn that information then pass it on," Price said. 

Raleigh teens hope to curb driving deaths Raleigh teens hope to curb driving deaths

Hatfield said he thinks the message will work if it comes from friends or classmates. 

Enloe student Ashley Nicole Szymankiewicz, 17, of Raleigh, lost control of her SUV on Jan. 11 on U.S. 264, hit a guardrail, went airborne, overturned and hit a metal pole in the highway median. Her passenger, Enloe High sophomore Carol Anne Stamper, 15, of Raleigh, died in the wreck.

Millbrook High junior Elizabeth Molloy, 17, was killed in a wreck on Jan. 7. The driver, Garrett Prince, 16, of 11004 Coachmans Way, faces charges of felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, provisional DWI, careless and reckless driving, having an open container of liquor, speeding and possession of marijuana. He was also injured in the wreck.  Anthony Du Juan Geter, 21, of 6118 Shanda Dr., was charged with purchasing alcohol for Prince on the night of the wreck. 

12 Comments

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  • wildcat Jan 24, 2012

    all they have to do is follow the rules and regulations of the roads and highways. Simple as that. Many will not is the reason for so many wreck that are killing the youth.

  • Vietnam Vet Jan 24, 2012

    We could just eliminate teenage drivers? Bottom line is no amount of education or parenting will guarantee that teen drivers will not do something stupid causing injury or death to themselves or someone else. Parental and educational influence will only do so much... In the end it's up to the individual driver.

  • kermit60 Jan 24, 2012

    It is the skimming of the gene pool. Unfortunatly some innocent victims get caught along the way. It has happened since cars were invented and will continue.

  • citizensoldier16 Jan 23, 2012

    As if this will have any effect whatsoever. Alcohol is illegal in vehicles period. Maybe cell phones and stereos should be illegal in vehicles if you're under 25. How about governing the speed on a teenager's car to 45mph until they're 25? Heck, maybe we should raise the age of getting a license to 25. See folks...legislation isn't the answer here. The solution lies in proper parenting, which no law will ever alleviate.

  • vraptor Jan 23, 2012

    well well. young people see their friends die for not wearing their seat belts. but refuse to wear theirs.

    the parents cannot control this. it is up to the young person. and yes it will continue to happen.

    police do not wear seat belts either. they think it impares them getting out of the car. how about we fix that 1st???

  • Screw WrAl Jan 23, 2012

    Want to curb it? Simple.

    Go to Bev and tell her she doesn't care about the kids unless she raises the driving age to be the same as the drinking and voting age.

  • xxlovesstarxx Jan 23, 2012

    Also I also see adults driving and driving, texting while driving, and talking on the phone, while this is also not safe, they arent having classes for adults to learn from!

  • xxlovesstarxx Jan 23, 2012

    not all teenagers are like that, my parents got me a car at 16 and gave me freedom, and with that freedom i didnt go out driving drunk. My parents are my bestfriends, but that doesn't mean im going to drive all crazy. In Johnston County, at the high school i went to alone lost i think 12 people in the four years i was there, and some of those werent the teenagers fault. So saying all teenagers need to figure things out, isnt always true. There are a select bunch who will and need to learn this. While i was in high school our school did a demonstration of a car wreck, thats what hits home, before prom every year they do this and i think all high schools should!

  • mfarmer1 Jan 23, 2012

    Maybe we should not have 16 and 17 year olds out all night drinking, Texting on Cell phones, and driving cars.

  • Jack Flash Jan 23, 2012

    In other words, this is ALWAYS going to happen. Brilliant solution, vraptor.

    I would be interested in hearing what the stats are since NC added graduated steps to licenses. I suspect the increase in the use of cell phones makes it hard to get an unadulterated figure, but I know that when I got my license as a 16-year-old back in '88 I could have legally driven to California with a car full of friends the same day.

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