Traffic Accidents: Leading Cause of Death among North Carolina Teens

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teens between the ages of 15 and 20 in North Carolina. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration statistics show this is also true for teens in the U.S. as a whole. NHTSA studies show teens are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident.

These tragic accidents have prompted various North Carolina police officials to ramp up their presence in the areas that surround high schools. The law enforcement program titled “Operation Drive to Live” has officers patrolling the areas around schools and ticketing teens for violations from speeding to seat belt use. Officers will not be sitting at the schools but patrolling the area around the schools in an effort to keep teens safe while driving.

Officials are also hoping to curb the incidents that occur from distracted driving. Driving and talking or texting on cellphones is a common occurrence among teens and adults. In an effort to stop young drivers before they develop these types of bad habits, teen drivers are being invited to participate in a driving course set up by officers in which the teens drive golf carts through an obstacle course of cones while texting. Hopefully realizing the difficulty in completing the course without hitting any cones at such slow speeds will show younger drivers how dangerous it is to text and drive at highway speeds.

North Carolina’s effort to reduce teen deaths has recently gone a step further. Lawmakers have passed a new measure. A little known law now requires officers to immediately arrest a teen who is cited for a misdemeanor traffic violation, such as reckless driving. No longer will the officer just issue a citation allowing the teen to pay the ticket at a later date. The penalty for being brought before the magistrate may include the loss of the teen’s license for 30 days.

Source: Mount Airy News, “Highway patrol targeting teen drivers”

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