Loudoun County, VA (October 24, 2019): This week marks National Teen Driver Safety Week and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is reminding young drivers to never drive distracted.
In the United States, car crashes are the leading cause of death in teens from 15 to 19-years-old. A majority of those crashes are due to critical errors, including lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards, going too fast for road conditions, or being distracted by something inside or outside of the car.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has developed several programs to raise driver and passenger safety awareness for both middle school and high school-aged students in the county. In an effort to reach all new drivers, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman and members of the LCSO leadership team attend all licensing ceremonies in Loudoun County and provide a Teen Driving Checklist to new drivers and their parents to encourage them to drive safely. “We encourage all drivers and especially our youngest drivers, to put their cell phone out of reach, limit the number of passengers in your vehicle, and obey all speed limits,” said Sheriff Chapman. Teen Driving Checklist includes what every driver should know before getting behind the wheel, what to do if you are in an accident, and what to do if you get pulled over for a traffic infraction.
The information also includes restrictions for new drivers under 18-years-old in Virginia including:
• Cannot drive between midnight and 4 a.m.
• For the first year, you can have no more than one passenger under 21-years-old (excluding family members).
• After the first year, and until you reach the age of 18-years-old, you can have no more than three passengers younger than 21-years-old (excluding family members).
• Cannot operate a cellular or wireless mobile device while driving, including emailing, texting or talking on the phone (§ 46.2-334.01
As part of the agency’s outreach efforts for all drivers, the LCSO also developed an informational video setting the expectations of a deputy during a traffic stop, what law enforcement expects from a driver, and what requirements a driver must lawfully follow. This video can be viewed at https://sheriff.loudoun.gov/trafficstop. The video was developed in coordination with local civil rights and religious leaders.
As part of their roles in Loudoun County Public Schools, LCSO School Resource Officers are frequent guest speakers at school events to talk with students about making good decisions when behind the wheel and as a passenger in a vehicle. These discussions begin as early as middle school, including a partnership with Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), where students are taught about the importance of wearing their seatbelts. The LCSO and Stone Hill Middle School were recently recognized by YOVASO after the school saw an increase of seatbelt usage from 55% to 91% during the statewide Arrive Alive campaign last school year.
The LCSO was also recognized at the 2019 Virginia Sheriff’s Association Highway Safety Award in September. The agency was nominated by the Virginia DMV for our efforts in enforcement, public education, and community outreach for traffic safety in Loudoun County.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office works to educate all drivers and enforce all traffic laws. We ask that you do your part to obey the laws and please drive safely.