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Sep 15, 2013 12:31 AM by Erika Flores

Tucson PD teaches teens to drive safely

TUCSON-If you're a parent, you might agree handing the keys over to a teenage son or daughter can be terrifying.

That's because traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here in southern Arizona, Tucson police are participating in a program to help keep teens safe on the road.

There were over 103 thousand accidents in Arizona in 2012, and according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there are over 167 thousand teen drivers in Arizona.

Many are newly licensed drivers, so the Tucson police department and foundation are making sure teens know how to drive safely.

"We tell them the cones signify parked cars, pedestrians, little kids on bikes," said Olivia Kennedy, an instructor.

START, Safe Teen Accident Reduction Training, teaches skid recovery, off road recovery, control braking, backing and evasive steering.

Marisol Rivera is 18 and admits driving sometimes makes her anxious.

"I think I'm mostly afraid to drive because I don't want to get in an accident where I'd injure myself or injure someone else," said Rivera.

Dylan Ruby is a 16-year-old driver.

"When you think of all the accidents that could occur, and all the drivers that are ill prepared, this is a pretty good course to help you get over the fear of that," said Ruby.

Tucson police driving instructors teach this class.

"We show them the techniques. We put them behind the wheel so that they can feel what it's like to lose control of the car or about to lose control of the car," said Sgt. Steve Culberston with the START driving program. "Many of them haven't been in those critical driving conditions and unfortunately many times the first collision that kids get into can be fatal."

Dylan said the program is helpful.

"It prepares you for any sort of accident that could ever occur in a car," he said.

It's the same skills Tucson police learn.

"I feel like I'll be more confident as a driver after this class," said Rivera.

Click here for more information on how you can register your teen driver:


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