The technical driver’s training program is unique in that participants spend three of the four hours of training behind the wheel of a car with professional instructors experiencing driving situations that put them most at risk. A course is set up in a parking lot that includes a skid control station, a distracted driving course, a sudden stop accident avoidance station, and a simulated driving under the influence station. The last station is done with golf carts and impaired driving goggles. One parent or significant adult for the teen must attend and are an important part of the training. From past trainings we have realized how important it is for parents to hear the instructions and be able to reinforce the training with their teens.
The course instructors are all professional drivers from a driving program in Seattle. The course is open to teens between the ages of 15 and 18 who have either a learner's permit or a license, and 40 hours behind the wheel.
The following is a summary of the 2013 event, written by Carol White.
I don’t know if I have ever been part of an event that was as successful at meeting the need of the participants and the community at large. As we began working to secure the funding through grant applications and donations from organizations and businesses in the community, we were encouraged by the enthusiasm and encouragement we received. This is something Juneau needs so badly we were told over and over again. The enthusiasm continued with the glorious weekend we had for the training. Volunteers enjoyed standing in the sunshine, kicking cones back in place and watching the action. And was there ever action!
Ninety eight teens and at least that many parents participated in the free driver training. Although some of the teens couldn’t be described as enthusiastic at the beginning of the trainings (especially those at the 8:00 am sessions), all of them were excited and happy to have participated by the time the class was over. In reading through the comment cards they talked about how fun it was, how they wish it had been longer, and how they learned things they didn’t think they could have learned any other way. Parents were equally if not more pleased.
Here are a few highlights from the parent and teen comment cards:
When asked which of the 6 courses helped them the most they said the following
|The Driving Course that was most helpful was:||Parents||Teens|
|Wet Skid Pad||26||36|
|Driving Under the Influence||7||6|
|All of them||8||2|
These data points don’t begin to capture the excitement of the weekend! Everyone was speaking in superlatives – “this was the most spectacular event”, “This was an amazing course. I learned so much that will benefit me”, “the instructors were awesome” – and indeed the instructors were awesome.
At the end of each session, the question most often asked was, “Are you going to do this again next year?” We, here at the Foundation would certainly like to, but unfortunately it boils down to funding. We will be working on securing funding, but if you would like to help by donating to this project, you can do that on our secure donation link.