SMITHFIELD, North Carolina (WTVD) --Johnston County officials say a program to better educate teen drivers about dangers on the road is paying off. After years of rising teen deaths in car crashes, last year Johnston County only saw one teen death.
Monday, the teens working to make that happen were honored with a luncheon at the Johnston County Agricultural Center Auditorium celebrated teens participating in the JoCo Teen Drivers Program.
Through the program, teens work with teachers, law enforcement, and other officials to promote safe teen driving.
"Each month we all have different events that we put on," said Ashton Thompson, student at South Johnston High. "For example at our school, we hang up posters every month. We write on the sidewalk with chalk wife safe driving messages. We put things on their windows. We just put out a daily reminder to be safe on the road because they're so dangerous."
Students stress to other students the importance of driving safely, including not texting while driving and not drinking and driving.
"Our school does a mock car crash before prom just to get the teens thinking about driving safe whenever they're trying to go to have fun and they kind of forget to drive safe," said Amanda Fisher, JoCo Teen Drivers Program Adviser.
And it's working.
There was one teen driving fatality last year compared to 11 in 2007, according to Johnston County officials.
"You think to yourself that it's not going to be me but it could be you so if you understand the dangers on the road and you learn how to combat those dangers then you'll be a safe driver," said Gavin Brundidge, student at West Johnston High School.
"It coming from more of a student's point of view, it kind of sinks in more not necessarily coming from an adult," Thompson said.
But there's still work to do.
"Our goal is having no teen deaths in Johnston County," Fisher said.