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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A hands-on driving program at the center of a controversy in Brunswick County could get the green light again.

“It’s a little emotional, but I think I could really get something out of this,” StreetSafe student Sarah Sullivan said.

Sullivan was court appointed to StreetSafe after she hydroplaned and rear ended another car a couple months ago.

Rema Saadeh’s grandpa wanted her to do the class because she’s applying for her permit soon.

“I’m never texting and driving,” Saadeh said. “It’s very scary.”

Doug Darrell started StreetSafe four years ago as an alternative to drivers ed, which he says is outdated and ineffective.

Judge Jerry Jolly recently put the brakes on StreetSafe in Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus Counties by doing away with administrative traffic court after he deemed the $250 donation from Darrell to District Attorney Jon David inappropriate.

“This judge made certain allegations that were unfounded and untrue,” Darrell said. “My question is, what about the four kids that have died since January over in his district? What’s he done to try and stop that from happening to another family?”

Now, the North Carolina House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require administrative traffic courts be set up in each judicial district.

“Makes him look like a buffoon,” Darrell said. “Makes the judge look like a buffoon that this bill is out there that 34 of the 39 districts in North Carolina already have administrative traffic court, and he’s trying to fight it, when they’re telling him that it’s cost efficient, it’s saving lives.”

“I probably won’t touch my phone while I’m driving,” Saadeh said. “I’ll probably have the person sitting next to me take the call or the text. I’ll probably be a lot more careful when it’s wet outside and I’m driving. So, it’ll probably make me a lot more safer driver than I would have been.”

“I’m definitely going to pay more attention, and I’m going to make sure that I’m able to control my car better,” Sullivan said.

The provision to mandate traffic court is part of the budget bill and must first be approved by the Senate, but it would require regular traffic sessions be set up by October first.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest81

    Nothing but another money grab. Drive and try to use common sense at the same time. I know that is hard for some to do, but try. Forget cell phones, especially texting. Don’t comsume alcohol or drugs and drive. Slow down and maintain a safe following distance….even more so when it is wet…common sense, people.

  • LawDog

    Just because traffic court is mandated doesn’t mean StreetSafe will be mandated. Mr. Darrell sure seems eager…wonder why? Oh…that’s right! He makes money off the program! Silly me…

  • Guest000

    Wow – great! You just solved the problem that kills more young drivers than anything else. I’m sure parents will feel much better now because you told their kids to TRY TO DRIVE SAFE. Wow, if only we all knew it would be that easy – all we have to do is tell teens to “try to use common sense” and they will stop dieing in car crashes!!!
    Maybe we should all be thanking people like Doug Darrell who are out there trying to solve this national epidemic and prevent parents from suffering the worst tragedy imaginable – the death of their child.
    -instead of someone like you who does NOTHING but decides someone else making a difference is simply a money grab.
    I don’t know Darrell or this program but one thing I hate is someone who does nothing to make this world a better place but is quick to criticize someone who is attempting to do good.

  • I would hope he’s profitable owning this business. Otherwise, why would he own it? He’s no different than any other business owner. I doubt he’s in business to break even.

    Is there more than one driving school in Brunswick County?

  • mom of teen driver

    Did you not hear the comments by those kids taking StreetSafe? This program isn’t about making money. It’s about SAVING LIVES. More teens die from car crashes than the next four leading causes combined. It’s a non-profit – it’s instructors are police and fire personal who I bet are not getting rich off this but do it because they’re the ones knocking on doors to tell a parent their child was just killed in a car crash. Wow – could it possible be that Mr. Darrell is eager to stop kids from dieing?? Some people out there really do things for the right reasons. How sad that just because your only motivation to do something would be money that you assume it’s everyone’s motivation….

  • Guest8787

    Mr. Darrell seems to be twisting the facts. Judge Jolly didn’t disapprove of the program and it’s effectiveness. He disapproved of the shady dealings between himself and District Attorney David.

  • guest 717

    Did anybody bother to listen to the kids interviewed in this piece? They said this program would make them more cautious about driving, make them not use their cell phone and drive, make them think about the way they drive. Do you not care about the lives of these young people? What about their parents, their friends, those that would suffer if these kids died in a car crash. Car crashes kill more kids than anything else, seriously injure more kids than anything else. Have we not had enough kids die senselessly on our roads, especially when these crashes could have been prevented. Wouldn’t you want your kid to have all the training possible?

  • LeeAnne B

    Check your premise… It looks like Street Safe is non-profit. Relax a bit, it will be okay, don’t be so stressed. Don’t tailgate, share the road, slow down, save a life.


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