Pottsboro meets to address teen driving tragedies

By: KXII Staff Email
By: KXII Staff Email

POTTSBORO, Tex. -- Seventeen accidents in six months have left the community of Pottsboro stunned and wondering how to keep their kids safe on the roads.

Thursday night more than 150 people attended a meeting to talk about driving safety, including the father of 16-year-old Shelby Dunn-Johnson, who was killed in an accident last May.

He says drivers' education courses should be mandatory others suggested the city place more signs and reflectors around sharp curves on rural roads.

Police Chief Brett Arterburn says a majority of the accidents happen at night and most drivers are under the age of twenty.

The chief says tonight's meeting generated some good ideas.

"if we can get these people to the right places and get the drivers ed back in school i believe it will help the progress tremendiously," said Arterburn.

City and school officials say they will look into reinstating the drivers' education program at the high school.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Denison on Jul 28, 2007 at 02:30 PM
    I think that putting drivers ed back in the schools is an excellent idea - where the student would taught for a full semester by someone that is throughly trained to teach the course. I also think that the student should also have a lot of supervision by their parents after obtaining a drivers permit. I feel strongly that in order to acquire a drivers license one should have to demonstrate to a DPS Officer their ability to perform behind the steering wheel of an automobile (stopping at a stop sign, yielding to oncoming traffic, driving with at least one car length for every 10mph one is traveling between you and the car you are following, etc). I think we have become too lax in the requirements for obtaining a drivers license. I admire the town of Pottsboro for trying to determine what can be done to make their town a safer place for their kids.
  • by -- Location: Pottsboro on Jul 25, 2007 at 09:39 AM
    i attend the high school and i have lost two friends in the past couple of months and i agree that drivers ed needs to be back in schools, but what is more important is not that the kids are being taught by their parents, but the fact that the kids can get their lisence without taking the driving portion of the test. It is ridiculuos, you dont have to be a good driver to pass the written part! and i dont know if raising the age will help at all, the majority of accidents are caused by lack of experience and speed which will still be there if the age is raised. Someone that learns to drive at 18 will unexperienced just as someone who learns to drive at 16. Neither one have been driving long.... its education that needs to change. and the fact that us teenagers arent invincable, it could happen to anyone and thats the truth without a doubt
  • by Grumpy Old Harda&& Location: Denison on Jul 16, 2007 at 11:43 AM
    Anonymous in Pottsboro and Cory in Savoy make very good points. However, first and foremost parents need to realize that it is not a requirement to GIVE a child a car on their 16th birthday. And any parent who gives a 16 yr old child a car that will do 0-60 in less than 12 sec should have their head examined. Parents need to spend more time evaluating their kids’ maturity behind the wheel before putting them behind the wheel of any car, especially one that is well beyond their experience level. Every day I see kids driving cars that are much faster than their ability and experience warrant. Add to this the fact that their attention is divided between their driving and their cell phone or the other occupants in the car and you have a recipe for disaster. Before parents go to, and expect authorities to do something to make their teenage kids safer while driving, they need to look in the mirror to see who is really responsible for their kids safety behind the wheel. If your kids are texting/talking on a cell phone, cutting up with friends or eating their burger and fries while driving, or driving like their racing in NASCAR that's not my fault. Nor should a community be expected adapt policy to protect their children from their own irresponsibility. Parents need to suck it up and do the hard thing... Be parents FIRST regardless of the possibility that doing that may knock you out of the best buddy position. They may not like it or like you but they will be around in 10 years to say thanks for being a little hard on them and protecting them from themselves and their own bad judgment.
  • by Kandiss Location: Denison on Jul 14, 2007 at 07:47 AM
    I lost a very close friend in HS who was involved in a fatal car accident and it wasn't her fault. Yes, teens and elders are more prone to auto accidents but I don't feel they should take full responsibily. I think law inforcement should break away from Allsup's for a bit and focus on those driving under the influence honestly. You'd be surprised how many the cops will catch.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2007 at 03:04 PM
    Professionals? My driver's ed teacher was a coach & all he did was read the newspaper & pop heart medicine. I think Corey has the right idea. Very smart parenting, I think. Of course, I realize that a lot of parents don't pay that much attention to their kids.
  • by Mindy Location: Sherman on Jul 13, 2007 at 11:58 AM
    Drivers Ed should have never been taken out of school. There are too many kids that are being taught by their parents instead of professionals.
  • by anonymous Location: Pottsboro on Jul 13, 2007 at 11:28 AM
    It's all about parents-they buy kids new fast cars and turn them loose to get the kids out of the house and out of their hair. Put responsibility where it belongs!
  • by Corey Location: Savoy on Jul 13, 2007 at 09:56 AM
    I have 2 teen drivers and I agree with the fact that inexperience plays a major role in many accidents involving teen drivers. Considering that fact, I took this approach. When my teens were 14 1/2, I ordered the parent taught driving course from the state and they began to study for the written exam. At the age of 15, they were eligible to take the written exam and receive a drivers permit. Beginning on their 15th birthday, they became the family driver for ALL our travels. Along with the minimum requirements for the Parent Taught Drivers Ed, we traveled various types of roads in various traffic conditions. By the time they were 16 and eligible for a "real" drivers license, they had many more hours of driving experience than most "new drivers" and I, the parent, had a good idea of their actual ability to drive. Once they received their licenses, I, the "driving trainer" (as recognized by the state) had the power to revoke the license at any time until they turned 18. This additional power carries not only the weight to help ensure that they are good drivers, but helps to keep them in school, etc etc. Like most teens, they had to learn the hard way that DPS DOES gives tickets and they were made to take the defensive driving course (which, by the way, was great for teens who didn't get this type of insight during their driving training----highly recommend adding it before signing off on the license). At this point, they were reminded that the "power to revoke" was in MY hands. They aren't perfect drivers (and neither are we) but overall, it has worked out well. I saved about $300 on Drivers Ed, provided a lot of experience & instruction while they were learning, and by the time they got the license, they were asking me to drive. After the licensing, I still have them do most of the driving and monitor their driving habits. Drivers Ed is a great thing....and the addition of Parental Involvement makes it super.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2007 at 09:30 AM
    I think that graduated teen driving laws would be the most effective solution. Driver's Ed. classes are also important, I think. I really don't know how much difference driving tests--written or otherwise--make. They were a joke when I took mine 20 years ago(in OK, TX may have been different). How many folks do you notice driving who don't understand right-of-way at a stoplight? Teens need experience & limits. And hopefully these measures will also help temper teens' natural risk-taking tendencies--although I doubt it. Most all of us--males particularly--are lucky to have survived that age. I know I am.
  • by John Location: Paris on Jul 13, 2007 at 06:42 AM
    Could the fact that most new drivers no longer have to take an actual driving test any more have anything to do with it? I know for a fact that Drivers Education in my county could use some help. Most kids spend less than an hour behind the wheel with the instructor before he/she signs off and they take their written exam. Then they can drive, simple as that. I would like to see kids proving to a DPS officer that they can drive, not just taking their word for it.
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