In an instant your life can be flipped upside down. according to the National Safety Council, 30 teens are injured in car crashes every hour, and seven of those teens will die. To curb these numbers, programs like Alive at 25 aim to educate young drivers in defensive driving.
The classes offered by Alive at 25 don’t involve hopping into a car with a teacher, like young drivers often do when learning to drive. Instead, piggybacks off the information already established in those classes to further educate young drivers.
The additional training offered by the program is designed to teach teens how to make safe, respectful and legal driving decisions. For the counties of Otero, Bent and Crowley, these classes should be making their way into their schools this year.
“It’s free to the students because of an effort initiated by employees at Valley-Wide Health Systems,” Clinic Manager Cindy Masias said.
The programs at La Junta, Crowley County and Las Animas high schools will be free for students, thanks to grants obtained by Valley-Wide and donations made by the Brandon and Paul Foundation.
“The schools can set it up in a multitude of ways, they can make it mandatory for their kids and they can block it into a testing week, … or its optional and they can do it on a Saturday morning or afternoon at the school,” Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation Administrative Service Manager Amy Nathlich said.
This program is only free for students who attend the classes at their respective high schools; if they take the classes outside of school the program will not be free. Teaching these defensive driving classes are people like Colorado State Patrol Sgt John Bronniman.
“The way the laws are set today, parents help their kids by being that mentor when they have that permit for a year,” Bronniman said.
The example set by parents is a very important step in teaching young drivers to be safe on the road, according to Bronniman. He brought up an example of a parent not wearing a seatbelt in the car, which in turn could lead to their kid making the same decision.
“At 65 mph, you're going at approximately 100 feet per second, so what can happen in that 100 feet or what can happen in that one second when you’re not watching the road is something that I try to present to all age groups,” Bronniman said.
He said that when it comes to distractions, drivers need to make a conscious effort to avoid doing behaviors that can be distracting. One distraction many drivers fall victim to is cell phone usage while driving, which is comparable to someone who is intoxicated, according to Bronniman.
To learn more about the Alive at 25 classes that could be utilized by La Junta, Crowley County and Las Animas high schools, go toAliveat25.us.