The VIP for VIP program or Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person was in Williamston in Martin County Thursday to try and get high school student to stop driving distracted.
The program started in 1998 to keep young drivers from texting, talking on their cells, eating or looking away from the road for any reason too long. Students at Riverside High School sat silently Thursday as local law enforcement re-enacted the dangers of texting and driving. Emergency responders surrounded a wrecked car and reacted just like they would if the accident was real.
For one mother watching, texting and driving was a deadly reality for her daughter in January.
"Sarah was 18. A senior at south side high school. She always had a smile," said Sarah's mother Tracy O'Carroll.
O'Carroll's 18 year old daughter, Sarah Edwards, was killed while texting and driving in Beaufort County. Two months after her daughter's tragic death, O'Carroll decided other teens needed to hear Sarah's story. She contacted the VIP program and now travels to high schools with them.
"Don't be a statistic. That text is not worth your life or anybody else's life. Not at all," said O'Carroll.
VIP volunteer Scott Strufe says this is the 14th year for the VIP program. He says North Carolina is the number 2 state in the country for teen fatality deaths. He believes they are all caused by distracted driving.
"It takes an average of four seconds to stop and read a text while you're driving, and if you're driving 55 mph you will travel the distance of a football field with your eyes off the road," said Strufe.
The VIP program has been in existence since 1990 and according to their website has delivered 118 programs reaching more than 76 thousand teens.