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Shelley Osterloh Reporting Far too often we have to report on the tragic deaths of teenagers who died in automobile accidents. The National Highway Safety Administration reports motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those 15 to 20 years old. Now there’s a nationwide driver education program aimed at improving teen driver's skills.
Regular driving education programs teach the basic rules of the road, but this program, called the Driver's Edge, teaches driving skills, especially how to operate a vehicle in an emergency.
Imagine driving the road at 40 miles an hour when someone steps out into the path of your car. Stopping is not enough; you need to make a quick maneuver to avoid them.
David Leach is a driving instructor for the Driver's Edge -- a one day, free drivers ed program for teenagers.
David Leach, Drivers Edge Instructor: "They need to know how to avoid accidents, rather than just pass a test and parallel park and use their turn signals. So we take them out to the other end and teach them some maneuvers like that."
The four hour program teaches things like proper seat position, evasive lane changes, anti lock braking maneuvers, skid control, vehicle dynamics and driving on wet and snowy roads.
The drivers edge program was founded by race car driver Jeff Payne. This year it will go to 11 cities and teach about six-thousand teenagers to driver better.
Jeff Payne, Drivers Edge Founder: "We are not teaching them to drive fast. We are not teaching them how to skid and spin. We are teaching them how to be better prepared on the highway to avoid tragedies from happening."
Marco Young, Teen Driver: "When I usually drive I think I can brake the car, and I either hit it or I don't. I stop the car. But I learned this time that I can turn and maneuver the car while I'm in an emergency situation and still be able to be in control."
And she says while it was a little scary at first...
Marco: "Oh, it was lots of fun. I mean how often do you get to skid out a car?"
You can check out The Drivers Edge Program this Saturday only at the Rocky Mountain Raceway. Thanks to its sponsors -- Bridgestone tires, Triple A and Sprint --it is free, but teens do have to register in advance.