Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Summer is almost here and that means more free time for teen drivers to spend behind the wheel. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, accounting for 36 percent of all deaths in the 16-18-year-old age group.
Montrel Davis, 18, has been driving for the past 3 years.
“While on the road I try to watch the road very closely. Especially the way people run the red lights and even stop signs,” stated Davis.
Davis is learning to drive defensively, but not everyone does.
David Bradberry has been Tupelo High School’s Driver’s Education teacher for 15 years.
“One problem we run into just like adults, in a hurry. Feeling like I need to be somewhere in a hurry,” said Bradberry.
At Tupelo High there are 150 students who are enrolled in the driver’s education course. Along with Bradberry, there are three other instructors who teach the course. The school offers the course each semester during the school year.
“When we talk to students we explain that when we they get behind the wheel we are not going anywhere particular, just take their time and obey the law,” said Bradberry.
Some students seem to be hearing the message.
“For me, personally, when I drive, I take more care because I want to protect lives,” said Haley White, a 16-year-old driver’s ed student. “When I have someone in my car, I’m definitely more careful. I don’t want to be responsible for their lives, and I don’t want to hurt any of us.”
Davis has learned a whole list of do’s and don’ts.
“One thing that was stressed in class was to obey the laws, never text, never drive under the influence, and most of all never to be in a rush.”
What can parents do to assist with teen safety driving? “Parents are encouraged to be setting a good example behind the wheel. Parents can increase the chances their teen will adopt safe driving practices,” replied Bradberry.
Bradberry also encourages parents to reinforce what the teens are hearing in class.
“Obey the rules of the road, do not rush, and wait to respond.
Tupeol High Driver’s Education instructor, David Bradberry, talks about slowing down.