Troopers Combat Spike In Teenage Crashes

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Recent data shows Mecklenburg County leads the state in the number of teens hurt and killed in traffic accidents.

North Carolina Highway Patrol officers are rallying to bring the numbers down using a popular defensive driving program.

BRAKES Incorporated was created by drag racer Doug Herbert. His teenage sons were killed in a tragic car accident in January 2008.

“I was lucky that the last thing I was able to say to my boys is I love you,” Doug said in an interview Saturday.

Through the defensive driving course he teaches hundreds of students every year to drive safely.

One-hundred-five teens were killed on North Carolina roads in 2010.

Another study shows Wake, Johnson, and Mecklenburg counties topped the list of teen driving deaths over the past four years.

“Our teenage crashes are going up,” said NC Trooper, David Ferguson.

Trooper Ferguson is pushing to bring those numbers down. The highway patrol plans to raise money to fund more brakes courses in North Carolina.

Ferguson said the courses focus on defensive driving skills that teens aren’t learning elsewhere. The course is so popular there is a waiting list until 2012.

Laura Reynolds drove her daughter three hours from North Georgia to attend.

“I’m hoping the distraction factor is what she’s learned about, because teenagers and cell phones scare me to death,” she said.

In the course teens also learn how to drive in wet road conditions and how to use anti-lock brakes.

Trooper Ferguson said it takes about $10,000 to fund one brakes course.

If you would like to donate, you can send checks to North Carolina’s Highway Patrol.

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