Program to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Several deadly car crashes in the past couple years in Columbia County, and now the sheriff is introducing a new plan to make the roads safer. News 12 is on your side explaining how they plan to put a stop to unsafe driving.

Don Brock has been sharing road rules with teens since 1975.

“I’m an old basketball coach so my job is just to drill. We don’t teach driver’s ed, we coach driver’s ed,” Brock said.

And he’s hoping a new program from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office does the trick. It’s a voluntary program called Sheriffs Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers, or STOPPED for short.

“That will make the parent aware of what’s going on and I’m quite sure if these kids know you’re going to call mom and dad, it will help out a lot,” Brock said.

“Bottom line, mom and dad need to know what’s going on in those automobiles driven by their children and they need to have our eyes and ears to their benefit,” said Sheriff Clay Whittle.

Parents who sign up get a decal with an ID number. Anytime your car is pulled over, you’ll be notified, even if your child doesn’t get a ticket.

“I guess it would keep me on my toes and keep me remembering because I have the sticker,” said Austin Rich, teen driver.

“The difference is the parents are going to know about it now. Before then, it’s quite possible the parents would never know about it if the kids didn’t tell them,” Whittle said.

Columbia County has its share of fatal teen crashes. Two Evans High students died in 2002 in a late-night crash. A Greenbrier High student died just last year on Hardy McManus Road.

“This is a matter of life and death and you got to treat it that way. You don’t take any time off. You have to be aware of everything that’s going on around you,” Brock said.

And now, some sticker shock to keep drivers safe.

To sign up for the STOPPED program, call the sheriff’s office at 706-541-2856.