SCC offers safe driving courses for repeat offenders

By David Broyles

August 9, 2013

DOBSON — Beginning this month Surry Community College will be offering an eight-hour course that will provide an attitude adjustment for some drivers.

The National Safety Council Attitudinal Dynamics of Driving course (DDC-ADD) is designed to change negligent driving behavior and improve bad driving attitudes. Students learn to make direct connections between their attitudes and their behavior behind the wheel. They’ll see that the choices they make have financial, legal, and personal consequences and learn to take responsibility for their actions, according to organizers of the class.

Studies indicate most traffic accidents involve at least one driver breaking a traffic law. Often, when traffic laws are broken, death, injury and property damage result. Average death rates for automobile travel are nearly 25 times higher than bus, railroad, or scheduled airline travel, according to the National Safety Council.

One of the major causes for these statistics is the negligent driver. The negligent driver seems to live in a world where traffic laws don’t apply to them. They tailgate, swerve in and out among vehicles, disregard traffic lights and ignore speed limits. Often these drivers are engaged in these dangerous actions while they are talking or texting on their cell phones resulting in 1.6 million crashes per year, according to the National Safety Council. This dangerous driving results in collisions with real injuries and fatalities, along with taking up police and court time.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of repeat traffic offenders because they directly impact public safety,” said Chip McDonald, president of the Safety and Health Council of North Carolina that sponsors the courses statewide. “The benefits to the citizens of Surry and Stokes through the availability of this training include safer roads, a more educated driving public, and perhaps the opportunity for drivers to mitigate some of the costs associated with traffic violations.”

McDonald said the local district attorney’s office has reviewed DDC-ADD and may take completion of this eight-hour course into account when sentencing traffic offenders. Already offering the four-hour Defensive Driving courses for teenagers and adults, Surry Community College now joins 17 other community colleges across North Carolina in offering this class for repeat traffic offenders and for drivers charged with more serious violations than accepted for the four-hour course.

Traffic violators may be required to complete the eight-hour course as part of their judgment, keep their driver’s license, or receive a reduction on a violation. Defense attorneys also refer their clients to complete DDC-ADD as a positive, constructive measure to negotiating a reduced plea. The eight-hour course also is recognized in Virginia for certain traffic violations.

Classes are scheduled at Surry Community College in Dobson on Saturday and Sept. 21. Advanced registration and payment is required at least 48 hours before the class date. The cost is $100. Interested persons may call Freda Bryant at 386-3473 for more information.