One-day course working to curb teenage driver fatalities

One-day course working to curb teenage-driver fatalities

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is nothing more deadly for teenagers, than getting behind the wheel.

In 2011, nearly 2,650 teens in the United States between 16–19 were killed, with more than 290,000 treated for injuries suffered.

While alarming, the results can be prevented.

That's the goal behind national program, and one-day teenage driving course, Tire Rack Street Survival.

Saturday, nine Lowcountry teenagers took their place behind the wheel, in an open lot just outside the North Charleston Coliseum.

Regional executive Melanie Murray, of the partnering Sports Car Club of America, is a proud supporter, and an even more grateful parent.

"This legitimately saved my daughters life," Murray said.

"She was able to handle a wreck, I think she would have really come out of badly if she hadn't taken this class."

Teenage drivers experienced a mix of instruction behind the wheel, and in the classroom, focusing on skills such as emergency braking, skid control, even how to hold the steering wheel correctly.

"We try to give them a lot of things as parents, and as drivers education teachers, but this takes it beyond that," Murray added.

"We had an 18-wheeler here earlier.  We let the kids get in the truck.  They were able to see why that sign behind the truck that says, 'If you cant see my mirrors, I can't see you,' is so important."

Joseph Hale, 18, already has a driver's license, but took the one-day course to hone his driving skills in a controlled environment.

"When you accelerate, you don't want to get sideways, but sometimes it happens," he said.

"Until I had a closed area to really practice that, you don't know how to do it."

Tire Rack Street Survival is entering its 12th year, and has trained up to 12,000 drivers.

Students paid $75 each, and completed drills using their own cars, to translate the newly-acquired skills to their daily driving experiences.

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