Teen Drivers

Interstate 40 traffic
Dave DeWitt

Wake County school leaders said Thursday that the state’s decision to eliminate funding for driver’s education could put students at risk and lead to higher costs for families and taxpayers.

This summer, state lawmakers passed legislation to eliminate the $26 million school districts now receive to fund the program. That means starting next July, when the new fiscal year begins, districts will have to find other means to cover program costs.

teen driver
State Farm Insurance, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Johnston County teenagers will lead a discussion today aimed at stopping deadly crashes involving young drivers.  Organizers of the Teen Driving Summit will welcome students from 12 other counties to discuss safer driving practices among teens.  Johnston County currently has the 4th highest number of deaths among high school-age drivers. 


Lynda Carroll is with the county's Teen Driving Committee.  She says the dialogue will focus on five areas of risky behavior behind the wheel.

teen driver
State Farm Insurance, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Teaching a teenager to drive can be a scary experience for both teens and parents. But a new iPhone app developed by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center and the Center for the Study of Young Drivers aims to lessen that anxiety by helping teens and parents log driving time and meet driving goals before the teen applies for a driver’s license.

The app is called Time to Drive, and it’s rooted in research showing that many teens do not receive adequate driving practice in a variety of potentially challenging conditions, such as on interstates, at night, in heavy traffic, or in poor weather. The app can monitor driving time and keep track of road conditions and routes, allowing parents and teens to meet certain driving goals during the learning process.

Teenagers in North Carolina now have to keep driving logs in order to get their drivers license.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would require drivers under 18 to log 120 hours behind the wheel before getting a license. A parent or other qualified adult would have to sign off on the log. However teens could wait and get their licenses without taking driver's education classes when they turn 18. Lawmakers say the bill comes from recommendations by a task force charged with reducing teen highway deaths. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Greer Beaty says the agency supports parents' involvement in teaching their children how to drive safely.

The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program has awarded Johnston County a $20,000 grant to battle teen driving crashes. County spokesman Robin Gurgainus says there have been 39 teenagers killed in accidents in the past six years, giving Johnston the second-highest rate in the state.

"A lot of these accidents are single-car accidents due to speed and not wearing a seatbelt. You know, I was a paramedic for 5 years. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, a minor accident can kill you."