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State law could land teens in jail for unsafe driving

Posted March 26, 2012

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—  Teenage drivers caught speeding might end up behind bars under a new state law that has some parents upset.

The law requires that teens who are 18 or younger and driving with a provisional license be arrested and taken before a magistrate if they are caught committing a misdemeanor moving violation.

That includes speeding 15 mph above the speed limit, careless and reckless driving, driving in excess of 80 mph, passing a stopped school bus and aggressive driving.

Brittany Guntang, 17, was arrested in Benson last week after she was caught going 15 mph over the speed limit. She says she was surprised when she learned that she wasn't just getting a ticket.

"(The officer) told me to get out of the car and said that he was taking me to the jail in Smithfield for speeding," Guntang said Monday.

As a result, she has lost her license for 30 days.

The law, which went into effect Oct. 1, was passed to try to reduce the high number of North Carolina teenagers being killed in wrecks.

Brittany Guntang New state law lands teen in jail

"I would much rather make a phone call to a parent to tell them that their child is at the magistrate's office rather than make that dreaded knock on the door to say that their child is no longer with us due to a motor vehicle collision," First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said.

But Guntang's mother, Susan McCloud, says she thinks the law is too extreme.

"My daughter is going to be applying for college next year, and, of course, she is going to have to write on her application for college that she has been arrested," she said.

McCloud says she believes the state should do more to raise awareness of the law.

"That's basically the reason I wanted to get in contact with WRAL," she said. "I wanted to let parents and teenagers know that this law is in effect."

 Guntang says she hopes others can learn from her mistake.

"Be aware of this law, and hopefully, don't get caught speeding," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • saywhaaaaat Mar 27, 2012

    Im about 50/50 on this law. YES it is better to call a parent to tell them to go pick up their child from jail instead of the morgue. BUT....it should be aplied only on your second or third offense for EVERYONE of all ages not just teeneagers. But oh well the law is the law i guess.

  • pw Mar 27, 2012

    1st define wreckless........speeding and wreckless are 2 different scenerios of course everything is interpretation. She could have been wrecklessly driving a lawnmower, motorcycle, Horse, plane....we could go on. All could be dangerous...

    Of course I guess we seem to be digressing....We could still make her wear the letter S put her in stockades, publicly bate and ridicule her, and maybe possible a public whipping....oh yeah we already have done some of that.

    Its still criminalizing and taking away freedom and it is a big deal.....

  • d1b Mar 27, 2012

    These parents wouldn't be upset or think its too extreme if it kept there kid from dying or being seriously injured. If they don't like the jail idea to slow kids down, just take their license away until they are 21 if they get caught speeding. I know growing up I put myself and many other lives in danger but was very lucky nothing bad ever happened. If I had been told back then that I was going to jail or loosing my license if I got caught speeding, that would have made me slow down and think about what I was doing

  • kermit60 Mar 27, 2012

    If she was recklessly shooting a gun nobody would have questioned her being arrested. But even though cars kill thousands of more people every year it appears that using one recklessly doesn't rate as bad in the eyes of many people.

  • jjsmith1973 Mar 27, 2012

    oh look it is leo-nc. The man that got caught posing as an officers on these boards and isn't. Plus I have a point it is this law is rediculious and it ties up resources for something that is pointless.

  • leo-nc Mar 27, 2012

    jjsmith you whine too much and have no point to make.

  • pw Mar 27, 2012

    don't worry folks we are arresting people and criminalizing everything so much over fears of safety and security pretty soon it won't be a big deal to go to jail.....Used to be a pretty big deal and had to be something serious to take away someones freedom lock someone away and put them in a cage like an animal. Now its not really an issue can happen to anyone...chew gum throw in wrong place arrested. Cursing arrested....what next? Its just gonna be common practice no one will care and respect is lost. You people should be ashamed for so willfully giving up someone's freedom. We arrest 9 and 10 year olds now who misbehave in school.....

  • jjsmith1973 Mar 27, 2012

    Plus, Genralwayne if you even watch the video that accompanies the new stroy there is her arrest report with her picture so they took it for this arrest. So yes she was processed. So don't play is that the lack of experience showing. Watch the story.

  • jjsmith1973 Mar 27, 2012

    Actually before I went full time military I was in Law Enforment as well. So no not a lack of experience and it also depends on what county you are in on how they processes a juvenile. SO not all county jails and juvenile facilities are handle and operate the same

  • jjsmith1973 Mar 27, 2012

    Yes Genralwayne and what he should have done is arrested you. Then took you to the station, processed you and had you call someone to give you a ride for speeding. You broke a law by speeding there for you commited a crime against the state county or local leaval. I also said it is the start of a Nanny State. There are plenty of things that have already made it such here.