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Troopers target teen drivers in 'Operation Drive to Live'

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

SHALLOTTE—State troopers will be targeting teen drivers this week as part of the statewide initiative “Operation Drive to Live,” to reduce traffic collisions involving teenage drivers.

Beginning Feb. 23 and continuing until March 1, state troopers and other local law enforcement agencies will amp up patrols, especially around area high schools, from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

Traffic collisions are the leading cause of teenage deaths in North Carolina, trooper J.L. Reeves explained, adding 125 teens were killed on North Carolina highways in 2008.

“Many collisions involving teenage drivers occurred during their commute to and from high school,” Reeves said.

Speed is the leading cause for these traffic deaths.

Reeves stressed teen drivers cannot use their cell phones to call, text message, e-mail, play music on its MP3 player or any other function of the cell phone. The only exception is an emergency call. Troopers have a zero-tolerance policy for teen drives using their cell phones while driving, he said.

Parents can also help troopers with “Operation Drive to Live,” Reeves said.

“Parents need their kids to know how serious this is,” he said.

Teenage drivers with a provisional license can only receive full driving privileges if they don’t have any moving or seatbelt violations, which includes the cell phone violation.

“Some things that a teenage driver need remember are: wear your seatbelt, don’t speed, follow your driver’s license restrictions and don’t use your cell phone while you are driving. That includes the hands-free devices,” he said.