Denver Program Uses Veteran Drivers and Simulation Training to Teach Teens Driving Safety
Learning how to safely steer thousands of pounds of moving metal hurtling down streets and across highways is only the first step for young Colorado drivers; environmental factors such as the weather, noise, smartphones, and passengers also influence a driver’s focus and concentration. Now, these organizations are trying to bring more education to these young drivers.
According to a report by Denver’s KMGH-TV, Channel 7, the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club and UPS Road Code, a national driving safety program for teens, are launching a free safe-driving training program for young drivers and drivers in training in the Denver area.
UPS Road Code is a program of the United Parcel Service’s UPS Foundation in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It emphasizes teaching young people the dangers of distracted driving. Transportation officials, lawmakers, and law enforcers in Colorado and across the United States have made distracted driving a priority issue due to the prevalence of smartphone use among drivers.
Thousands of Teens Die Due to Distracted Driving
About 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while on the road. Distracted driving, which can include other activities such as adjusting the radio, was a factor in 59 of the 488 2014 Colorado traffic deaths, KMGH-TV reported. In 2015, distractions from the road became a factor in 68 of the 547 reported traffic deaths.
Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, accounting for more than a third of deaths among these youths, UPS Road Code said, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also cites the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in saying that more than eight people die and about 1,100 people are injured each day in auto accidents involving distracted drivers.
Teenagers are the largest age group of distracted drivers reported in fatal accidents. In 2015, NHTSA reported that crashes involving distracted drivers killed 3,477 people across the United States and injured another 391,000.
Simulation Training for Colorado’s Young Drivers
Young drivers in the UPS Road Code experience real dangers — in a virtual world. The program uses driving simulators to give its participants a taste of conditions they might face on the road. Participants face all manner of distracting situations outside of smartphone interactions on the road, such as having friends in the car or drowsiness. Carrea “CeCe” McNeal spoke with a KMGH-TV reporter about the program and her decision to take it after earning her driver’s license this past summer.
“I always put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ so that I won’t even think about touching it,” she said. “I took the program, and it honestly helped me to be a better driver, a safer driver.”
Learning From the Experienced
UPS Road Code relies on its sponsor’s greatest assets, its drivers. At least 150 UPS drivers have trained to be volunteer instructors at more than 50 Boys & Girls Clubs in 40 cities across the United States. They teach about 5,000 teenagers each year. They base the training on the same safety training taught to the delivery company’s own drivers.
The program is free for all teens. To find out about class dates, contact Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.