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Program Aims to Keep Young Drivers Safe

Program Aims to Keep Young Drivers Safe

Posted - Apr. 17, 2004 at 4:57 p.m.



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Sandra Yi reporting Young drivers are 20 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than the average driver. It happened in Utah just this week, two Riverton High School teens lost their lives in a car crash.

We took a look at a unique driver's education course is trying to keep young drivers safe behind the wheel.

If you suddenly lost control of your car, would you know what to do? Experts say, not enough teen drivers do. Today, they got the 'driver's edge'.

Utah Teens get behind the wheel... and learn, how to control an out of control car.

This is Driver's Edge, a program that aims to put the brakes on car crashes involving teens. It's taught by professional racecar drivers.

"Faster, faster, faster, get ready, off the gas, back the other way, nice job."

On a course, teen drivers are put to the test. An exercise teaches them what to do if their car cuts a corner too fast and begins to skid.

Bruce Baxter learned, he isn't as good behind the wheel, as he thought.

Bruce Baxter, Student Driver: "First time trying to skid, go around the corner, facing the other way, it's an ego buster."

Jeff Payne, Driver's Edge: "This is a big wakeup call for kids. They're having a lot of fun, but they're learning a lot at the same time."

Instructors say, this realistic lesson can help save lives. Statistics show, nearly 32 young drivers are killed in car crashes, every day in the U-S.

Jeff Payne, Driver's Edge: "In this country, we lose a classroom of high school aged kids everyday in car collisions, yet there's so much talk about guns and violence in schools, but there are more kids killed in automobile collisions than everything else combined."

On Monday, two Riverton High School students died in a car crash. Jason Neeley and Nick Wanless were killed instantly when their car went off the road, over corrected, then skidded into on coming traffic. Police say Neeley was speeding.

But adults can benefit too. I got behind the wheel -

"Full throttle here, keep going, keep going, lift off the gas and turn in, here comes the slide."

-and learned, it isn't as easy at it looks.

Jeff Payne: "We get letters every week from people saying, this happened to me on the highway, but thank God for your program, it saved my life.'"

Driver's Edge is a non profit program, free for teens. This is the second time instructors have offered the program in Utah.

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