Johnston County working to reduce teen fatalities

September 29, 2008 10:15:33 AM PDT
Johnston County leaders are trying to prevent wrecks involving teen drivers.

Johnston County has had the second worst record for teen fatalities in the state the past few years. The most recent deaths were less than two weeks ago.

Students will have the chance to take a class called Alive at 25.

Two Wooden crosser mark the spot just north of Princeton where two young men, including one high school senior, lost their lives 12 days ago in a car crash.

It's the most recent in a string of tragedies. In the past three years, more than two dozen people under the age of 19 have died in wrecks in Johnston County.

"What is it?" Princeton High School parent Beronia Capps said. "I don't know. I honestly don't know. Is it bad luck?"

Capps knew most of the teens who did and says when wreck happens, it affects the entire community.

Leaders know that standing by and letting it continue is not an option.

"We have to do something," Smithfield Mayor Norman Johnson said.

What leaders are doing is offering a class taught out of a book. Alive and 25 focuses on safe, defensive driving.

The class will be offered to all Johnston County teens who have divers' licenses or permits starting in November. Mel Harmon will be the instructor.

"If we get these kids talking with each other they carry that anytime they get together, and they're talking about it, then I think it can help tremendously," Harmon said.

Up to 130 students can sign up for the class which will take a few hours. More classes will be added if there is interest.

Debbie Godwin has a daughter at Princeton High. She said her daughter will be the first one signed up for the class.

"Hopefully, this class will teach these kids that they just need to be thinking about what they're doing," Godwin said. "You know, the radio's not important, the cell phone's not important, and I kinda wonder if it's those distraction's that's driving this."

The class is free and the book for the class costs $5.50. That fee will be waived if you can't afford to buy the book.

To register for the class, call Town of Smithfield 919-934-2116. Teens must register by October 22. Class is November 6 from 5-9 p.m. at Smithfield Town Hall.

The highway Patrol said it will be cracking down in Johnston County in a couple of weeks. There will be more trooper around area high schools and they will conduct safety programs in local schools.


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