New driving course shows teens dangers of distracted driving

Fatal crashes involving teenage drivers' down 70 percent

SAN ANTONIOSears – The frequency of fatal crashes involving teenage drivers' ages 15 to 17 has gone down 70 percent since the year 2002, thanks to teenagers speaking with other teenagers, and summits like "Teens in the Driver Seat," held by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on Tuesday.

"There are thousands of teenagers, I am convinced, that are alive today, because this program made them think about how dangerous driving can be, and some of the things associated with driving," said John Sharp, chancellor of Texas A&M University System.

The summit involved lectures and materials on distracted driving. There are driving simulators and a pedal kart that goes around a small track. The students were given special goggles to give them the same perspective of a DWI driver. Every student hit at least one cone.

The biggest key from all the material, lectures and practical applications was how teens communicated the message of distracted driving to their fellow students.

"We're going to high schools and promoting it like don't text and drive, don't drink and drive, because you want to live your life. You don't want to end a life right now over something stupid," said A.J. Gonzales, who is a sophomore at Johnson High School and a member of their driving club.

"What I have learned is more ways to get the word out, making people know what's going on," said Kaitlyn Summers, who is from a high school in Norfolk, Nebraska.

There are over 1,000 high schools across the country involved in the program, and the students have one goal in mind when it comes to talking about distracted driving.

"If we keep this up over the next two or three years, I hope we could actually get this to the zero percent deaths on the roads for teens," Gonzales said.




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