Teen driving deaths rise in 2020, law enforcement urges safe driving

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 4:34 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With COVID-19 restrictions in affect for the majority of the year, you’d think the roads would be safer, with more people staying home.

But actually, the opposite is true, which is why there is a push for safer driving.

The State Highway Patrol along with a program called B.R.A.K.E.S have teamed up to help prevent possible accidents.

“Sometimes you’ve made a mistake, said Sgt. Chris Knox, NC State Highway Patrol. “But if you can make a mistake and limit the severity of that crash it can be a life-or-death tool that you have.”

It’s an alarming number, since the beginning of the year there have been 141 teen driver deaths in North Carolina. That’s 12-percent higher than this time last year.

Knox attributes the numbers to distracted driving and open roads due to more people staying home, but the open space also can encourage reckless driving.

But the B.R.A.K.E.S program says they have all the training to help deal with any situation.

“They get about 20 minutes of classroom talk then after that we get them on the course and start teaching,” said Larry Dixon, B.R.A.K.E.S instructor.

Dixon says people who take the class are put through a controlled training course that can simulate dangerous conditions and help you navigate them.

“There’s crash avoidance where you’ll learn to make quick lane changes,” said Dixon. “There’s also a braking zone where you’ll test and apply the ABS system and understand the brakes on the car.”

It’s not always easy to avoid accidents, but sometimes, they can be controlled to lessen the damage.

The State Highway Patrol and B.R.A.K.E.S say practice safe driving, be aware, because it could save your life and others too.

If you are interested in learning more about the program or taking the class, you can find out how to do so, here.

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