This Sunday, October 20, marked the start of National Teen Safe Driving Week. So it was apt that the Central Bucks Family YMCA and Fred Beans, with the help of some generous friends “in the safety business,” presented an afternoon program that reached teen drivers and gave them compelling reasons for avoiding distractions while behind the wheel or as a passenger.
Survive UR Drive™: A Teen Safe Driving Experience ran noon to 3:00pm at the Fred Beans Ford showroom and campus, 876 N. Easton Rd, Doylestown. Teens who were newly licensed or have learner’s permits were welcome to take part in the program, which included lunch and a demo of basic car maintenance.
“The inaugural launch last May gave 18 teen drivers and their parents a focused look into the consequences of distracted driving and tips on how to steer clear of distractions and other behaviors that take the lives of so many of our young people every year,” says Rachel Mauer, executive community director for the Y.
“We wanted to build on our Spring ‘beta’ program and what we learned from it, so we added slots for more kids, made the golf-cart driving course more challenging, introduced a vehicle maintenance piece and revised the presentation portion to encourage even more interaction between the teens and our safety experts.”
The program puts law enforcement officials and safe driving experts before the students and their parents to address a number of issues and use a variety of tools – from “beer goggles” and golf carts to edgy video and pointed questions – to raise awareness of distracted driving and give new or soon-to-be licensed drivers a hands-on experience in just what constitutes “distractions.”
“There is a demonstrated need for a safe-driving program that engages teens, makes them think about the consequences of their choices and behaviors,” says Mauer. “Fred Beans and the Y are taking the lead in Bucks County. From the response we’ve had – from parents, kids, schools, emergency personnel, law enforcement and other community organizations – we are definitely on the right track. We hope to share our program with other communities.”
The organizers also hoped to bring attention to National Teen Safe Driving Week, which runs through October 26. Such organizations as NHTSA, PennDOT, AAA and insurance companies provided information to share with the teens and parents who participated in the Sunday program.
Hands-on: Officer Dave Carlen, Doylestown Borough; Robert Dorfman, EMT; Katherine Olsen, Community Traffic Safety Program manager for Transportation Management Association–Bucks County; and other volunteer professionals.
Organizers and curriculum planners: the above as well as Rachel Mauer, CBFYMCA executive community director; and Virginia Krause, business development manager, and Anne Biggs, PR consultant, both from Fred Beans Family of Dealerships.