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CB Y, Fred Beans safe driving program draws 37 teens

A record 37 teenagers from the middle Bucks County area and into Montgomery County participated in the fourth Survive UR Drive™ teen safe driving program on Sunday, October 12, at Fred Beans Ford of Doylestown on North Easton Road, Plumstead Township. About 20 parents also took part in the presentations and practical experience on a driving course.

Eric Ermigiotti, a parent and panelist, accompanies a teen wearing "beer goggles" on the driving course.

“We are excited to have so many young drivers who are eager to learn more so they can keep themselves safe during that critical first year or so as licensed drivers,” says Rachel Mauer, executive community director for the Central Bucks Family YMCA.

“The format and content of our Survive UR Drive program are designed to impart what can constitute life-threatening distractions for young drivers and what consequences we can expect of the choices we make when we get into a vehicle.

“We hope these teens take home a clear recognition of their vulnerability and what they can do to lower their risks while they gain behind-the-wheel experience.”

Officer Dave Carlen, Doylestown Borough Police, reviews points of teen driving laws.

The program was developed through a partnership between the Central Bucks Family YMCA and Fred Beans Automotive Group with valuable assistance from local police departments, ambulance companies and community leaders. It has been held in the spring and fall since April 2013.

“Parents are behind this initiative in growing numbers and would like us to offer it in the schools,” says Mauer. “The Survive UR Drive planning committee has also been talking to other nonprofits and police departments outside of Central Bucks, with an eye to expanding the program into those areas.”

Teens at the fall Survive UR Drive event included high school students from Pennridge, all three Central Bucks schools, Archbishop Wood and Upper Moreland. Parents also attend so families can share their knowledge and understanding of the risks and the consequences of certain choices.

Thomas Logan, Esq., from William Goldman & Associates, Doylestown, talks about potential consequences of decisions new drivers make behind the wheel.

The program includes a graphic video showing a distracted driving accident simulation; role-playing a traffic stop and other driving incidents; review of teen licensing regulations and driving tips; panel discussion of teen driving experiences with local experts in the legal, emergency medical and law enforcement fields as well as a parent who has suffered a loss due to distracted driving; and a golf-cart driving experience on an off-road course using educational props such as cell-phone texting and “beer goggles” that simulate driving under the influence.

Several local volunteers participated in the above segments on October 12: Thomas Logan, Esq., from William Goldman & Associates; Emma England, an EMT and firefighter with the Hartsville Fire Company; Officer John Lehnen of Buckingham Police Dept.; Eric Ermigiotti, a parent; and Officer Dave Carlen of the Doylestown Borough Police Dept.

For more information about the Central Bucks Family YMCA-Fred Beans Survive UR Drive™ initiative, please contact Rachel Mauer, executive community director for the Y, RMauer@cbfymca.org or 215.348.8131 ext 1167.

All photos, Lynette Rosenbaum

Eric Ermigiotti lost his teenaged son in a distracted driving incident.

Emma England, an EMT and firefighter for Hartsville Fire Company, was among the panelists.

Last minute instructions from Kathy Olsen, Community Traffic Safety Program Manager of TMA and specialist in teen driving safety, get the next driver on her way.

Beer goggles and texting while driving combine to give a hands-on experience of the dangers of distracted driving for this teen.