Business

Distracted Driving/Road Safety for Teen Drivers

January 26, 2017, 11:30 AM HST
* Updated January 26, 10:54 AM
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Distracted driving file photo.

A distracted driving and road safety for teen drivers event hosted by Waiakea High School in Hilo will be held on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The “Operation Driver Excellence” half-day session will provide students hands-on driving courses to improve their skills, including:

  • Driving Skills Course: Prevision driving, perpendicular parking, reverse perpendicular parking and parallel parking challenges are designed to sharpen a young driver’s skills.
  • Distracted Driving Course: Designed to give students and parents a distracted driving experience in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Collision Avoidance Course: Allows the driver to experience having to avoid an obstacle in the middle of a simulated road.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The national organization noted that a study in 2013 documented that 2,163 teens in the U.S. between the ages 16 and 19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. This translated to six teens dying every day from motor vehicle injuries.

“Unfortunately, no island is immune from teen motor vehicle crashes,” said Jan Meeker, resource teacher for the Hawai‘i State Driver Education Program. “The good news is that teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable.”

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“Text messaging, taking phone calls while driving, even when hands free, and scrolling through emails have become acceptable behaviors while driving in an ever-increasingly busy world,” said Jim Yates, Par Hawaii president, who oversees the statewide network of Hele and 76-branded retail stations. “There are competing demands vying for our attention, and multi-tasking has become an accepted way of life. But we want to stress that crashes involving handheld electronic mobile devices while driving are preventable. No one wants to lose a son, daughter or friend.”

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“Traffic crashes are especially tragic when it involves young drivers who are just starting their lives,” added Michele Saito, DTRIC Insurance president and chief executive officer. “Operation Driver Excellence gives island teens the chance to refine their driving skills and understand what they can do to prevent crashes in our community.”

The event will also feature a Traffic Safety Fair with learning stations, including:

  • How to load and hitch a trailer to truck correctly
  • Commercial blind spot zones
  • Simulated impaired driving (alcohol, drug)
  • Vehicle scavenger hunt (identifying main parts of a vehicle)

 

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