Coalition stresses safe driving

A safe driving program could be coming to a campus near you. The Shelby County Drug-free Coalition is sponsoring safe driving programs for teens, to start in the spring of 2009.

“We have become aware that we have a problem with the number of teens who die in car crashes,” said Carol Williams, program administrator. “Traffic car crashes are the number one cause of death among teens.”

She said the driving programs would feature a skit including area youth. The skit will attempt to show some of the dangers that teen drivers face.

“Some of the big issues with teen drivers are that they carry too many passengers, which leads to distraction, and there’s a low rate of seat belt use,” Williams said. “There’s drinking and driving, and then there are problems with teenagers talking or texting while driving. Those are the four big issues that they’re going to raise awareness about.”

Teens can correct every one of those problems if they make good decisions, Williams said.

The coalition is also working on a project for the next school year that would adorn high school parking permits with stickers reading “PAST,” which stands for Passengers, Alchol, Seat belts, and Texting or talking. The sticker is designed to remind students of those four major issues and to keep safety first.

Eventually, the stickers are intended to be in every high school in Shelby County.

The group also wants to get parents involved by passing out information at county businesses and at school sporting events, Williams said.

The safe driving program will debut at Chelsea High School in the spring. Eventually, the coalition hopes to videotape and distribute the driving program among area schools.

The most important goal is for teenagers to be safer, she said.

“The goal is definitely to reduce the number of teens who are dying in car accidents,” she said. “It will take time.”