RALEIGH — With prom season under way across the state and students out of school for a week-long Easter break scheduled, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has launched Operation Drive to Live which will continue through April 25. The operation will be conducted from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day with the primary purpose of reducing the number of teenage related traffic collisions and deaths.
According to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, young drivers are significantly over represented in fatal crashes, particularly 16- and 17-year-olds. Immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to fatal crashes by young drivers. Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are more vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways – traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. and North Carolina. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. One area that is particularly concerning is distracted driving where approximately 16% of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under 20. In 2012 alone, 3,328 were killed in distracted driving crashes.
In 2013, the Highway Patrol investigated over 47,013 motor vehicle collisions involving drivers and passengers who were between the ages of 15 – 19. Of those collisions, 86 resulted in one or more fatalities.
“Prom season affords the Highway Patrol an opportunity to bring teen driver safety to the forefront,” said Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. “Through education and enforcement efforts, we can reduce the number of our teenagers killed and injured on North Carolina Highways.”
To combat these trends, Troopers will be conducting traffic safety education programs within the state’s schools. The enforcement of all traffic laws in and around school zones will also be a top priority. Although the campaign is scheduled to last one week, the efforts of the Highway Patrol will continue throughout the year.