Drive carefully around schools

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With a new school year almost upon us, motorists should be aware there is more than not passing stopped school buses when it comes to traffic safety at and near schools. With hundreds of students traveling to and from school during the morning and evening rush hours and school-related activities, motorists must take precaution. Those times happen to be the busiest times for a teenager to be driving on North Carolina’s 80,000 miles of roadways.

Research shows that teenage drivers lack the experience of seasoned drivers and are more likely to be distracted while driving a vehicle. Think cellphones, texting and radios with the volume turned up.

That’s why it is not surprising that the leading cause of teenage deaths in North Carolina is traffic collisions.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol, to its credit, has been addressing this issue for several years. The Highway Patrol continues to prove it is dedicated to reducing the number of collisions affecting teenage drivers. It coordinate with school administrators to offer assistance in the area of highway safety by conducting safety presentations at their schools.

The presentations address the dangers of texting while driving and driving while impaired. Other presentations focus on impairing substances, drowsy driving and other topics related to teen driving.

School officials and other organizations are encouraged to contact the Highway

Patrol for information on programs for parents of teen and preteen drivers that help them understand teen driving issues such as graduated driver’s licenses, causes of teen crashes and tips that can make a teen a better driver.

All motorists are reminded that speed limits are reduced in school zones during morning and afternoon hours, and they are encouraged to use extra caution when traveling through these areas.

As the Highway Patrol takes these actions to help protect teenage drivers, those same teenage drivers must accept the responsibility of driving safely. While the Highway Patrol enforces traffic laws, teenage drivers must obey those traffic laws.

When it comes to protecting the lives of teenage drivers, it’s a two-way street out there.