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Teenage Driver Safety in North Carolina

teendriversincarThe Highway Patrol will be focusing on education and enforcement. Troopers across the state will be educating teenage drivers by implementing teenage driver safety plans and will be working with school administrators in offering any assistance in the area of highway safety. Education however is just one part of the solution. Increased enforcement visibility in and around all school zones will be observed.

On Monday, August 25, schools operating on traditional calendars will begin with more than one million students attending North Carolina’s public schools.  Students will be traveling to and from school and school related activities during the morning and evening rush hours, which happen to be the busiest times for a teenager to be driving on North Carolina’s 78,000 miles of roadways.

Research has shown that teenage drivers lack the experience of seasoned drivers and are more likely to be distracted while operating a motor vehicle.  According to the National Highway and Transportation Traffic Safety Administration and the UNC Highway Research Center revealed some staggering facts:

Approximately two-thirds of the people killed in fatal young-driver crashes are the young drivers themselves or their passengers

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of fatalities involving young drivers occur on rural roadways

One out of four 16-year-old drivers in North Carolina is involved in a car crash every year and nearly half of these crashes are serious enough to result in injury or death according to the U-N-C Highway Safety Research Center

16-year-olds are three times more likely to die in a car crash then other drivers

Sixty-one percent (61%) of all young driver fatalities were NOT wearing their seatbelts

Fifty-four percent (54%) of the vehicle’s occupants were killed as a result of NOT being restrained

Studies have shown that the combination of inexperience and the natural impulsiveness of the adolescent years contribute to this increased risk in being involved in a fatal crash.  Given this information, it is not surprising that traffic collisions continue to be the leading cause of teenage deaths in North Carolina.

In addition, the new school year brings an increase of school buses on North Carolina highways. Motorists should be cognizant of their presence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration an average of 24 school-age children nationwide die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year (11 occupants of school transportation vehicles and 13 pedestrians).

 

Operation Drive to Live Successful

Troop GThe State Highway Patrol concluded Operation Drive to Live after a week-long education and enforcement campaign.  The campaign, which began on Monday, April 21st and ended on Friday, April 25th, was focused on promoting safe driving awareness to teenage drivers.

During Operation Drive to Live, Troopers enforced all traffic laws around the state’s high schools and conducted traffic safety education programs. Troopers were actively looking for violations such as, speeding, following too closely, careless and reckless driving and any violation of the motor vehicle laws that can result in serious injury or death. In addition, troopers presented over 91 traffic safety education programs to students across the state.

Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.  In 2013, the Highway Patrol investigated over 47,013 motor vehicle collisions involving drivers and passengers who were between the ages of 15 – 19. Of those collisions, 86 resulted in one or more fatalities.

Although the campaign has ended, troopers across the state will continue to educate and closely monitor teenage drivers with one goal in mind; to save lives.

State Troopers Contract Lawsuit

NC Highway Patrol

NC Highway Patrol

Some attorneys say North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers are facing severe financial hardships because the state has broken a promise to give them pay raises. A breach of contract lawsuit was filed Monday in Cherokee County, with nearly 40 state troopers as plaintiffs. Attorney David Wijewickrama says troopers were promised graduated or step pay raises when they completed training at the academy. But he says that hasn’t happened in years. He says that has created financial hardship for some troopers who are having trouble making ends meet. A beginning trooper makes about 35,000 a year.