September 16, 2010
One Fluvanna County student has died in a traffic accident every year, for the past ten years.
"Our doorbell rang at four o'clock in the morning, and there was a trooper there who said Joel had been in an accident and he didn't make it. His car went off the road and he over-corrected. It spun around and hit several trees," said Pat Harvey, mother of Joel Harvey.
At this year's Drivers Safety Night, school officials, law enforcement and mothers discussed new efforts to make teens understand exactly how dangerous driving can be.
"I know you think some of this is ridiculous and doesn't matter. That's exactly what Joel thought, and look at where he is now," said Harvey.
Along with strong messages like the one from Pat Harvey, Fluvanna County High School students were also required to attend the event with their parents before being eligible to take the "behind the wheel" portion of their driver's education class.
"I was glad I was here to hear a lot of the speakers. It just gave me a different understanding," said Fluco mother, Danielle Staton.
Organizers say narrow country roads in Fluvanna are another concern for inexperienced drivers, and students were reminded to keep the eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, instead of on the cell phone, while traveling on those windy roads.
"There's a significantly higher death rate per thousands of drivers in the country versus the city. This is clearly published on the Virginia State Police website," said Michael Arnold, of the Rotary Club.
The Drivers Safety Night is in its third year and is offered two nights a semester. Organizer say they plan to hold another session in the spring.