Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Boot Camp for Teen Drivers

Name: Timothy Nathaniel Getch
From: Daphne, AL
Grade: 12
School: Daphne High School
Votes: 0


Boot
Camp for Teen Drivers

Just
before midnight, on a rainy night, my 16-year-old brother was driving
home. According to investigators, he rounded a curve, hydroplaned,
went off the road, and wrapped car his around a telephone pole. The
verdict, inexperience. He almost died at the scene. He sustained a
traumatic brain injury, a lacerated spleen, a punctured lung, six
broken ribs, and other injuries. He was in a coma and we weren’t
sure for weeks whether he would live. After he regained
consciousness, he spent 4 months at the Shepherd Center for Spinal
Cord and Brain Injuries. It took him two years to relearn to walk,
talk, and do all the things we take for granted.

My
parents will tell you they just can’t go through anything like that
again. They require extra time driving with a learner’s permit and
require hours of driving in parking lots before we can drive on the
road. They progressively give us driving privileges, make us take
driver’s education, complete the insurance company’s safe
driving program, and require that we meet with the insurance agent to
go over safe driving. When I say my parents are serious about safety
behind the wheel, I am not kidding. My mom even put a sign on the
steering wheel “absolutely no phone use” and posted “passenger
rules” on the dash directly in front of the passenger seat.

But
I am here to tell you this is not enough. I can list all the things I
shouldn’t do while driving. I know the stats. But the fact is I
believe I am a good driver and I can handle myself on the road. I got
a ticket for speeding 6 months after I got my license because I
wasn’t paying attention. I still think I am a safe driver.
Remember, this is coming from a teen whose brother almost died in a
car crash.

What
can be done to reduce teen crashes and deaths?
REQUIRE
driver’s education and
experience
behind
the wheel with a professional instructor. It is ridiculous to put
teens with underdeveloped frontal lobes behind the wheel! Teens
should go through a driver’s education boot camp that totally
engages them before they are let loose on the road. Get teens
engaged by using social media. Make it REAL. Make it hit HOME. Build
programs and use technology putting teens at the wheel in a
simulated car. Let teens experience the distance traveled when
looking at the phone, texting, using social media, talking to
friends, or eating. Record it, collect the data, and play it back.
Provide data for how long teens’ eyes were off the road, lane
drifting, speed variations, and missing road signs. The simulation
should include other drivers slowing down, pulling out, lane
drifting, road work signs with workers present, obstacles in the
road, etc. Make it REAL. Make it RELEVANT. Then end the course by
putting teens in the car with a professional who can teach them
defensive
driving.
Save Lives. Require Driver’s Education Boot Camp!


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