Teen Driving : A Father & State Troopers’ Perspective
This week it gets real REAL for us. Our oldest turned 16 yesterday and will get to test for her driver’s license tomorrow. This is the first big milestone of life towards adulthood in my opinion. While for some it may not seem like a big deal, when your daddy is a North Carolina State Trooper, it is. His level of concern as a father is elevated to another degree having been in his profession for nearly 20 years and dealing with situations we hope we never face. I asked him as a professional to share with us this week some teen driving statistics and what this experience is like for him.
•Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young people in North Carolina. •Sampson and Duplin counties are among the top 5 in fatalities of young drivers from 2011-2015.
•In 2017, North Carolina teens ages 15-19 accounted for 43% of unbelted crash fatalities. •Distracted driving is the second largest contributor to teen crashes and fatalities.
•70% of vehicle occupants ages 15-19 do not wear a seatbelt.
“Facts are facts. Seatbelts save lives and teen drivers are at a higher risk for accidents and fatalities when on the road. Although as parents we know the danger, as a Trooper all of these things are magnified. I’ve seen and comforted a scared young driver who is injured or has injured someone else. I’ve been the person on a parent’s doorstep in the middle of the night telling a loved one their child would not be coming home. At times it becomes so routine, however this is a major reality check. I pray I never find myself on the other side of the badge. For 16 years, I’ve had control of her safety when in a vehicle. To let that go in a blink of an eye scares me to death and it’s hard. Command presence aside, today I’m just a dad putting one of his most precious gifts out into the big, bad world.”
-Master Trooper, R.E. Edwards
It’s never too early to talk with your children about these things. I can promise you that in the blink of an eye you’ll too be putting them behind the wheel. May they all be safe, smart and conscientious as they take on an important responsibility of life.