Focal Point: 'In a Flash'

Posted February 25, 2009 7:00 p.m. EST
Updated July 18, 2012 6:13 p.m. EDT

Original air date: Feb. 25, 2009

North Carolina ranks seventh in the United States in the number of teenage drivers killed in automobile accidents and eighth in the number of teen passengers killed.

In recent years, Wake and Johnston counties have had a particularly high number of crashes.

So what’s to blame?

Experts say inexperience behind the wheel, speed, alcohol and distractions like cell phones and iPods are the major factors.

Many say the answer is more driver education. The state requires students to get 36 hours of training, only six of which is actually behind the wheel of a car. The rest occurs in the classroom.

There are additional defensive-driving courses available in some counties, but not all families can afford to pay for them.

With more vehicles and more distractions on state highways some say it may be time to make changes in our state’s driver’s education programs.

Focal Point: In a Flash examines the high number of teen auto fatalities in North Carolina. Interviews with the parents and friends of some of the teenagers killed in car crashes reveal the grief and pain they’ve suffered as a result.

The program also examines some of the causes of the crashes and looks at efforts to prevent them.

Watch the documentary

Watch Focal Point: In a Flash

Focal Point extra

After losing seven students in car crashes in 24 months, Wakefield High School in Raleigh launched a campaign called “Just Think First. Choices Count ." Watch the video.

Online resources

Web links are provided for informational purposes only. Views and opinions expressed on the Web sites of these organizations do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WRAL-TV,, nor their parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Co.

Host: Debra Morgan
Clay Johnson
Photographer/Editor: Jay Jennings
Research & Production Assistant: Laura Riddle