News 12 First at Five, Oct. 16, 2007
AIKEN CTY, S.C.---Aiken County is taking the offensive on defensive driving, aiming to reduce the number of people who die on county roads.
Alive at 25 is Aiken County's newest way of saying be safe on the road in a county that's seen more than its share of tragedy.
A little more than ten months into the year, and there are already more deaths on Aiken County roads than all of last year. That's why Sheriff Michael Hunt is teaming up with the National Safety Council of South Carolina to start Alive at 25.
"36 deaths is a lot of deaths. And we have got to be a little more proactive in reducing these deaths," Sheriff Hunt said.
The program will be a four and a half hour driving safety course targeting 15- to 24-year-old drivers. The ultimate goal: to save lives.
"If we can save one life next year, then we made a difference," said Brooke Russell with the SC National Safety Council.
15- to 24-year-olds account for 14 of the 36 deaths this year in Aiken County. That's up 30 percent from all of last year.
Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton has painted more than his share of white crosses on the road. "We know we are going to have to change a course of a families life in just a few minutes. It's always a shock and a great loss," he said. That's why he signed up his own son for this course.
The driving course will be mostly hands on, focusing on the most dangerous behaviors.
"Peer pressures, cell phones, what to do in regards to drinking and driving," Russell said.
To sign up for Alive at 25, all you have to do is head down to the Sheriff's Office and fill out a registration form or call the South Carolina Chapter of the National Safety Council at (800) 733-6185. The course dates are: November 3, November 17th, December 1st and December 15th from 8AM until 12:30PM.
The cost is $35. The classes are limited to the first 30 people who signed up. All four classes will be at the Aiken County Detention Center.