Teen Drivers: We Care
The start of each school year marks the return of We Care, a highly successful teen driver campaign that reinforces important safety messages throughout the year.
Automobile crashes have long been a leading cause of death in teenagers but after nine students died during the 2007-2008 school year in a shocking, saddening series of traffic fatalities, the Charles County community resolved to defy the odds and prevent the loss of more young lives. We Care was developed as part of an alliance between the CCSO and Charles County Public Schools in the beginning of the school year in 2008. Each year since, the program has engaged students in activities that discourage unsafe and unlawful driver behavior.
On the first day of school each year since the program began, Sheriff Rex Coffey, Schools Superintendent James E. Richmond and School Resource Unit officers have greeted student drivers as they enter the parking lots and distributed fliers with safety tips and information about teen-specific traffic laws. The school officers conduct additional checkpoints randomly throughout the remainder of the year to ensure students wear their seatbelts and comply with laws restricting passengers who can occupy vehicles driven by teens. The schools sponsor safe driving assemblies and the Charles County Association of Student Councils organize monthly campaigns that include creating posters, recording public service announcements for local radio stations and government cable channels, and participating in Red for Dead day during which students wear red shirts to symbolize teens who have died in crashes.
The unprecedented program drastically reduced the number of teen traffic fatalities immediately following its inception: One teen died in a 2009 crash in a neighboring county and another teen died in 2011 when her car struck a tree in inclement weather.
For more information about teen driving, download this year’s Teen Driver Flyer, visit mva.state.md.us or review the Student Handbooks issued by schools to students at the beginning of each school year.
Teen Driver Deaths in Charles County
- 2007-2008: 9
- 2008-2009: 1
- 2009-2010: 0
- 2010-2011: 1
- 2011-2012: 0