Traffic fatalities among teen drivers in Johnston County are down. That’s stuper. We can’t take our foot off the gas when it comes to teaching and preaching driving safety.
According to a news report that recently appeared in the Garner-Cleveland Record, there was just one death involving a teenage driver in 2013. That’s down from a high of 11 in 2007. Over a four-year period from 2009 to 2013, 18 young Johnston County drivers died in vehicle crashes. That ranks the area fourth in the state among North Carolina’s 100 counties. And that’s still too high.
In recent years though, the onslaught of deaths has caught the attention of many in our community. Schools have given emergency services crews and other driving safety groups access to our students. The number of opportunities to learn the easy way about what can happen when you aren’t careful behind the wheel has increased dramatically.
And young drivers seem to be taking the message seriously.
Of course with each new year comes a new set of young drivers who, perhaps, haven’t gotten the message. Now that teen driving deaths have fallen to a less-than-alarming rate, we should all want to keep it there. That means continuing the trumpet the message of driver safety: no texting while you drive, watch your speed. Obey the traffic laws. Don’t be in a rush.
All these things make perfect sense to us as we sit reading these words in the newspaper. It gets to be a different story when someone gets behind the wheel. Transferring that good sense from here to the car requires an unceasing effort to relay the message of driver safety.
It took an epidemic of young people dying on our roadways to take seriously the message of driving safey. Now, we hope, that message will continue to reverberate throughout the community, day after day, month after month, year after year. Without it, there will be more ugly headlines and more families mourning the loss of a life ended too soon.