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Highway Patrol focuses on teen-driving safety

Posted May 3, 2010
Updated May 15, 2010

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— State troopers will focus on teen drivers over the next two weeks, beginning Monday, as part of an operation to reduce the number of traffic collisions and deaths among the group.

As part of Operation Drive to Live 2010, troopers will be enforcing traffic laws around schools and will be conducting traffic-safety education programs at high schools, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said Monday.

The Highway Patrol that traffic collisions are the leading cause of death among teens in the state and the nation.

In the past four years, 682 teenagers have been killed in wrecks that the Highway Patrol investigated. Some of those wrecks happened while teens were going to and leaving school.

Four teens in central and eastern North Carolina lost their lives in wrecks in just the last week.

Michael Turner, Jr., 17, a student at Southern Nash High School, died Saturday after his car was struck by an SUV. Authorities said he had run a stop sign.

Jesse Ferrell, 16, a sophomore at South Johnston High School, died following a wreck that happened Wednesday while he was on his way to school. He was trying to pass two vehicles when he lost control of his truck, authorities said.

And Hoke County High School seniors Kaleb Valliant and Thadius Markle, both 18, died April 25 following a wreck in Fayetteville. Authorities said Vallian failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by another car. Markle was a passenger.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 56 percent of fatal crashes occur on rural roads and speed remains the leading cause of those deaths.

“Our goal is to educate teenage drivers on the dangers of driving irresponsibly,” Highway Patrol Commander Col. Randy Glover said in a news release Monday. “The Highway Patrol is committed to saving teenage lives on our highways and we will continue to look at various avenues to address this issue.”


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  • dare107 May 4, 2010

    Well the Highway Patrol, can't keep their own trooper, Captains and such from driving drunk, having sex in the back seat of their patrol cars. And the few that work the roads is so overworked and understaffed they can't make a difference.

  • bonnnie May 4, 2010

    I think they should raise the age to get a license to 18. Let them drive on a permit from 16 to 18 then then can get a license. Maybe then they will be more responsible and more mature and I feel this would help a great deal. I also feel that it will never happen because the insurance company will not allow that! Think of all the money they would lose!

  • beas May 4, 2010

    I agree that something needs to be done. More education, traffic citations, I'm not exactly sure what is needed. But until teenage drivers learn that they are not immortal and no longer believe that "it won't happen to me," not much will work. They have to realize that there are traffic laws that have to be obeyed for everyone's safety, including their own. No one is immune to injury and death.

  • EZeegoing May 4, 2010

    Thank you NCHP, the only way to slow these teens down is to hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook and by higher insurance rates.

  • lizard May 3, 2010

    Sounds like they're gonna start profiling teenagers as unsafe, illegal drivers.

  • JoCoMomof5 May 3, 2010

    disgusted2010......NCSHP is reacting to the public's cry for help. They do the best the can with what they have. If everyone would obey the traffic laws to begin with there would not be a proble to fix.

    I bet you are the same type person that sits and complains about them not doing their job until they stop you. Then is all about how unjust and crooked they are. You complain about how you didn't do anything wrong. Again, it is all about personal responsibility.

  • disgusted2010 May 3, 2010

    One more instance of the Highway Patrol's shameless pandering to the media. If they were doing their job every day instead of reacting to the media all the time maybe some lives could be saved.

  • josephlawrence43 May 3, 2010

    Can't talk for anyone else--but I learned a long time ago--A: Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. B: Teachers are not supposed to outlive their students. Do what it takes to keep kids alive.

  • JoCoMomof5 May 3, 2010

    Thank you rbarham3. You are so right. But it goes deeper than that.

    We (myself included) have to teach our teens personal responsibility. How many of the adults and parents of teens that received tickets today, agrued with the Troopers, made excuses or called and complained. The citations will not do any good unless our kids face the consiquence.

    That goes for the adults to. Lead by example. If you get caught, step up and take responsibilty. If you kids get caught, make them accountable. Yes, kids will be kids, but these are teens. We are suppose to be teaching them how to be adults.

  • whatelseisnew May 3, 2010

    The only way to actually stop teenager drivers from dying is to not issue permits or driver licenses to teenagers. That won't happen so I wish the troopers luck and trying to stop some of the carnage.