SCC instructor puts dent into number of car crashes

By: By Dan Grubb - SCC

Sgt. Wayne Dienhart may best be known in the community through his work with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department for more than two decades. What some may not realize is that he has taken his skills into the classroom as well, teaching in Sampson Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy for various blocks of instruction over the years.

A Sampson Community College graduate himself, Sgt. Dienhart teaches classes about Civil Process, Domestic Violence, Court Duties, Detention Duties, Hazmat, In-Custody Transport and Mental Illness/Developmental Disabilities. His goal is to prepare students in these areas for future work. In addition to these duties, Dienhart heads up Sampson County’s Alive at 25 program at SCC.

Alive at 25 is a program that the National Safety council has developed to educate drivers from ages 16 to 25 on the hazards and distractions while driving. Designed to prevent the number one killer of teens, automobile crashes, it is usually taught by off-duty deputies, municipal police and Highway Patrol officers. The course focuses on the behaviors, decision-making and risks facing young drivers every time they get behind the wheel.

“When I went to Raleigh to take the instructor part to this course it kind of hit home,” says Dienhart. “Being a former firefighter, responding to car crashes with teenagers involved, I felt that this course will and has helped people understand the hazards and the distractions of driving. I love teaching this class because this class can save lives of our young people.”

Some facts about young drivers that many may not realize: Young drivers are involved in fatal crashes at more than twice the rate of all others. The first year for a newly licensed teenage driver is the most dangerous, with more than one in five involved in crashes.

Each year nearly 6,000 teens are killed in vehicular accidents; more than 3,800 are drivers aged 15-20. Annually, more than 326,000 young drivers are seriously injured. More than half the deaths occurred between Friday and Sunday; 41 percent occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving at an unsafe speed is the most common error in fatal teenage accidents. More than 1,000 young drivers lose their lives each year in crashes because of an impaired driver, be it themselves or someone else. Although this group represents about 7 percent of the nations’ licensed drivers, they are involved in nearly 15 percent of all fatal crashes.

Sgt. Dienhart says it is his mission to turn these trends around. SCC is grateful for service and welcomes anyone else in the community wishing to make a difference to consider a career in law enforcement. SCC expects a Spring 2018 Day Academy to begin in February where seats are limited to just 24. If you are interested in joining the next BLET academy, please contact Jennifer Wiley, BLET Director at or Sharon West at or 910-592-8081 ext. 2500 for a BLET admissions packet and information.

Sgt. Wayne Dienhart leads the charge to prevent crashes by young drivers , heading up Sampson County’s Alive at 25 program at Sampson Community College. Wayne Dienhart leads the charge to prevent crashes by young drivers , heading up Sampson County’s Alive at 25 program at Sampson Community College.

By Dan Grubb