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Caution and excitement, in equal measure

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 3/30/2014

ON MARCH 18, Brooke Point High School in Stafford County hosted the Behind the Wheel Program for up-and-coming high school drivers and their parents. I cannot express in words how much I was dreading this--not the program, but the fact that I needed to attend, because I now have a 15-year-old child, who wants more than anything to have the coveted driver's license.

I think I can honestly say this would not be such a big deal to me if we lived in Kansas, where the highways and byways are not streaming with 89,000 of my closest friends--and that's just in Stafford County. This figure does not even come close to the number of people who are heading north into the District.

As I sat in the auditorium next to my bright-eyed daughter, I watched with increasing anxiety as a multitude of Stafford County crash scenes flashed over the screen above us.

My daughter, apparently oblivious to the many photos of smashed and broken vehicles, bubbled over, giddy in anticipation of being one step closer to actually getting behind the wheel of our sole family vehicle.

I glanced around the room nervously, searching out the faces of other anxious parents, until 1st Sgt. Lee Peters of the Traffic Safety Unit of the Stafford County Sheriff's Office spoke. He had me from the get-go.

He spoke of the team approach, how parents, teachers, the Sheriff's Office and the students themselves are responsible for safe driving behaviors, for being safe on the road so everyone gets home alive.

He shared his personal stories as well as stories about his experiences with the young and old drivers of Stafford County. He offered examples of the law and even interjected moments of comic relief, which helped bring all of us with high school students, ages 15 to 17, a little closer that evening.

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