After controversy, driving program may get the green light
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Doug Darrell started StreetSafe four years ago as an alternative to drivers ed, which he says is outdated and ineffective.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.