Stay Safe or Face the Consequences


Katia George , Anchor

Around the age of 15, teens are faced with the exciting freedom of learning how to drive. However, with great freedom comes great responsibility.

The Stallion Family has lost many lives due to unfortunate automobile accidents and the trend consistently continues. Teens go through class after class, lesson after lesson to insure safe driving habits. However, is it time for more discussion around safe driving?

Lessons offered through driving schools such as the 911 Driving School and United Driving cost $300+ for an 8-hour class and hours behind-the-wheel in order to receive your license. In these lessons, you are taught basic rules of safety such as the importance of seat belts, use of signals, and safe speeds. Some teachers also include how to drive defensively in situations. Alive at 25 is also required by Rock Hill School District 3 before receiving a parking pass for your respective school. This class is implemented to show the effects of careless teen driving.

Teen drivers Tanner Roberts, Tahleek Steele, and Regina Brackett all admit that their number one bad habit is speeding. These three drivers have been driving for 1-3 years. Teen driver Chip Di’Stasio believes his driving is “perfect” with only six months behind the wheel. Each of the drivers have done the necessary hours to receive their license as well as Alive at 25. However, on average, each driver believes that on a scale from 1-10, 1 being the least impactful and 10 being the most impactful, these classes were a 4.

So, what causes for these bad habits behind the wheel? According to teen driver, Joshua McClure, teens are more worried about, “trying to be cool” and “distractions.” He also believes they’re the most unsafe behind the wheel compared the other age groups for these reasons.

In order to address these concerns, Rock Hill School District 3 just implemented a new policy for the 2019-2020 school year stating that teen drivers cannot transport other students other than siblings to and from ATC. Principal Marty Conner also says that he “backed” the policy.

According to Michael Chavis of the Rock Hill Police Department, out of 4,137 car accidents in Rock Hill, 452 of them have been categorized as teen “at fault.” The Rock Hill Police Department Public Information Officer states that “usually its cellphones but also talking to others in the vehicle without keeping their eyes on the road or messing with the music causes a loss of focus which leads to accidents or speeding.”

However, Chavis does state that he believes teens are not the most unsafe behind the wheel. “Demographics show that all age groups have accidents, fail to obey traffic laws, or engage in unsafe driving habits.” Another officer, Sgt. Tim Allen over the Rock Hill Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit states that teen drivers “take more risk than they should.”

Overall, Chavis believes that “paying attention and driving defensively is what all age groups” should focus on to be a safer driver.