The 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).