Crackdown on speeding teen drivers
WTVD By Gerrick Brenner

(11/09/07 --JOHNSTON COUNTY) - The Johnston County Sheriff's Office is beginning a crackdown to slow down lead-footed teenage drivers. This week alone, five teenagers have died in car crashes -- all in Chatham County.
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Send Us Your Tips | Real-time Traffic | AccuWeather Forecast When high school gets out, teenage students hit the road. But in Johnston County sheriff deputies are hitting back with radar and traffic stops.

"We're leading the state in teen fatalities," said Capt. David Daughtry, Johnston County Sheriff's Office. "And we want to let them know at what speeds they are traveling."

Johnston County has suffered nine teen and high school student fatalities in the first nine months of the year, so deputies are now patrolling the roads around the high schools just before and after school.

Most of those fatalities were blamed on speed and inexperience. West Johnston High School senior Kirk Mahler was pulled over Friday afternoon. He agreed lots of drivers his age just don't have many hours behind the wheel.

"When you haven't been driving so long, you don't realize you have been driving so fast," Mahler said. "That's what happened to me. I didn't realize I was going over the speed limit."

And although deputies are stalking teen speeders, deputies are also forgiving. So far most of the tickets have been warnings.

"We want everyone out here to know we're here," Capt. Daughtry said. "And hopefully with the warning tickets it will slow them down enough to not have to issue citations."

But for reckless speeders real tickets will come. Deputies hope they send a stern message.

"It would be a whole lot better to see them in a courtroom in front of a judge than to see them in a funeral home," the Captain said.

And everyone can agree because in Johnston County in 2007 too many teens have lost their lives on the roads.

Although most of the tickets are warnings, deputies are also calling parents if drivers are going 20 miles over the speed limit.