Highway Patrol makes right move on young drivers' safety

April 21, 2014 

It is a fear that haunts parents of young drivers. A glance out the door late at night, with members of the state Highway Patrol walking up to the door. Things will never be the same.

And unfortunately, many such visits could be prevented except for youth and inexperience. Young drivers, particularly those 16 and 17 years old are, statistics show, involved in a disproportionate number of fatal crashes.

The enemy often is something called “distracted driving,” which can mean everything from cell phone texting to friends in the car to just not paying attention for an instant. And an instant is all it takes.

Toward the goal of reducing the risks, the state Highway Patrol is conducting “Operation Drive to Live” as proms begin and more youngsters are out on the roads. The special operation is on this week in North Carolina.

The patrol knows all too well about the serious accidents and other collisions that force them to make those calls on parents, or relay ambulances, or call on other households where someone has been injured or killed.

Today, with all the electronics available, distractions are too abundant for drivers, even though the state bars texting while driving. The law should be common sense, but too often isn’t for drivers of all ages. Lessons pertaining to safe driving can and should be taught by parents, and most parents try.

This week, however, patrol members will be in schools with safety programs, and they’ll be focusing on more intense surveillance of roads around schools and issuing more tickets. That won’t be fun for youngsters as the school year begins to wind down and proms are on, but it will be far more important.

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