Local News

Driving Instructors Stress Road Safety

Posted May 31, 2001

— Sometimes young drivers think they are invincible, but an accident like the one that happened Wednesday night in Raleigh can be an eye-opening lesson.

Driving instructors say they try to drive the point home all the time: speed kills.

Every year, hundreds of anxious teens get behind the wheel for the very first time. But before they head out on the road, the state requires them to complete 30 hours of drivers education and six hours of behind the wheel training.

In a class at Bryant Driving School in Durham, high school students are taught the basics of defensive driving.

"That car is a 3,000-pound gun and your foot is the trigger," their instructor tells them. "Speed is the worst thing you can do."

Word of last night's tragedy spread quickly across the Triangle and really hit home with teens.

"I think they should be more careful and it's sad that they have to die so young," says one.

"It's all right to go out and have fun, but don't lose control. Don't go over the the limit," says another student.

"They're often nervous (and) apprehensive and it's a big step for them," driving instructor Graham Nichols says.

Getting behind the wheel is a huge responsibility for anyone, but driving instructors admit that sometimes teens quickly lose sight of the message.

"Unfortunately those young people didn't see (driving) as a responsibility and paid the ultimate price for it," Nichols says.

According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20 years old.


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