The deaths of two students and the injury of another in recent Wake County car crashes come as North Carolina schools struggle to find a way to pay for driver’s education courses. Lawmakers cut off state funding for the programs, a decision that goes into effect next July. Originally, $3 million was slated to go to Wake County prior to the cut, and now the schools must somehow account for the education of their young drivers through other means. Almost 12,000 students took driver’s ed in Wake County last year.
Regardless of funding, the fact remains that younger drivers pose a higher risk to themselves, their passengers, other drivers and pedestrians than more experienced drivers. In their first six months of solo driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, new drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Numbers like these should alarm everyone, but they might be especially frightening to those tasked with ensuring younger drivers are properly prepared to get behind the wheel.
Due to their lack of experience, knowledge, practical driving skills and maturity, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents. Furthermore, due to other factors, such as distraction, the likelihood to speed and the presence of peer-group passengers, these accidents have a higher likelihood of being fatal. When other vehicles are involved, the potential for serious injury and even death is magnified.
Leanne Winner, director of government relations for the North Carolina School Boards Association, says, “These are our youngest drivers. You want to make sure that they go through this program, that they just don’t opt not to do it. We need to make sure that our roads — not only for them but for all of us — are as safe as possible.”
If you have been injured in an accident involving a teenage driver, you might be eligible for compensation for your injuries and other losses. The personal injury attorneys with the Lanier Law Group have served North Carolina injury victims since 1995 — contact them today to benefit from their years of experience.