State officials targeting teen drivers

JOHNSTON COUNTY At Clayton High School Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen parents and their teens accepted the written pledge to drive responsibly.

"I think it's important for all students and parents to be a part of this program," concerned parent Teresa Tart said.

Officials say it's an agreement on paper with sobering stats about teen deaths in cars -- outlining behaviors from cell phone usage to aggressive driving.

It has places for both parents and teens to sign. There's also a check list to ensure parents send their children off to drive safely.

"I couldn't stand the thought of knowing that they were responsible for the death of themselves or the death of somebody else," Tart said.

State trooper's say Johnston County's most recent fatality happened in part because the teen involved wasn't wearing a seat belt.

"There are no excuses for somethings," Johnston County Schools Superintendant Dr. Ed Croom said. "There is no excuse for not putting your seatbelt on."

Last school year, Clayton High School student Brittany Hicks died when her Jeep veered off the road and hit a tree. She too wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Hicks is one of more than 30 Johnston County teens who have died behind the wheel in the last five years.

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