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by Tom Spigolon
November 15, 2012 04:21 PM | 3400 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Paulding High School senior Cara Gloyd recently was named to the Governor's Commission on Teen Driving.
North Paulding High School senior Cara Gloyd recently was named to the Governor's Commission on Teen Driving.
Dallas resident Cara Gloyd didn’t realize how important service on the Governor’s Commission on Teen Driving would be until she was sworn in at the State Capitol in Atlanta last month.

“My friends don’t know how big of a deal this is,” she said. “I didn’t know how big of a deal this was.”

The North Paulding High School senior was among 22 teens from 19 Georgia counties to be appointed to the commission, which met initially Oct. 25.

“Our main goal is to lower all crash rates for teens,” Gloyd said.

Georgia’s commission formed three subcommittees that will focus on such issues as the dangers of texting while driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Gloyd said.

It will conduct monthly webinars on the issues and meet once more before reporting its findings and making recommendations to Gov. Nathan Deal and the Legislature in March, Gloyd said.

Gloyd, 17, is the daughter of Mike and Annette Gloyd of Dallas. She became intensely interested in the issue after tragedy struck a close friend in 2010.

“Almost all of us who are on the committee have been affected personally by some … experience having to do with a tragedy with driving which inspired all of us [and] made it a passion for all of us to act on it,” she said.

Fellow North Paulding student Zack Williamson was killed in August 2010 after the vehicle in which he was a passenger was struck head-on by another vehicle which crossed the center line of Old Cartersville Highway. The driver of the other vehicle, then-18-year-old Dylan Turner, reportedly was under the influence of marijuana, Oxycodone and Xanax.

The incident led Gloyd to help form a teen driving safety campaign at North Paulding. The group organized a weeklong program to educate students on the dangers of impaired and distracted driving. Other area schools later asked the group to make presentations to their students.

In September, state officials called for applications to a new teen driving commission. Applicants were required to have clean driving records, show leadership in their communities, and have good academic standing.

It is the first such commission comprised totally of teens in the nation that is designed to make recommendations for new or amended laws.

Almost 200 applied, and Gloyd said organizing the teen driving campaign and having the experience of losing a friend because of impaired driving helped convince officials to select her to help find a solution.

Gloyd said she hopes her work helps teens realize the potential danger of their actions.

“When you’re standing over your friend’s casket, that’s too late to realize it. Or when you’re in the courtroom getting sentenced for the rest of your life, or so many years in jail, that’s too late,” she said.

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