Prom, graduation and summer vacation is an exciting time for teenagers, but it can also be a dangerous time on the road and Bryan County is making sure teen drivers think about vehicle safety first.
The free Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error) course will be Thursday, April 17, in Pembroke from 6-8 p.m. at the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church Social Hall, 185 S. Poplar Street.
The Coastal Health District and the Pembroke Police Department are once again teaming up to offer this course.
"We’re working with the fact that motor vehicle crashes are the number one death of teens nationwide," said Cristina Gibson of the CHD. "A lot of it can be prevented and this course looks at behavior and attitudes associates with driving."
Gibson said inattention/distraction is the number one nonfatal cause of teen driving accidents and speed is the number one fatal cause.
"Also, having more than three teens in the car increases the possibility of having a motor vehicle crash by 180 percent," she said. "One in five teen drivers will also have a car accident in their first year of driving. If they can think about safe driving while they’re training, we can work to reduce their numbers. We also coach the parents on how to teach their child to drive, because it can be a stressful and frustrating experience sometimes."
Pembroke Chief of Police Bill Collins said this is at least the third PRIDE program that he’s aware of in Pembroke.
"We’re trying to get as many folks as we can in this class on Thursday because it’s coming up on prom and summer vacation time," Collins said. "We’re hoping to get as many kids and parents involved as we can before this peak teen driving season starts."
Collins said the class is important for the additional training it provides, above and beyond state requirements and drivers’ ed.
"The higher levels of training that teen drivers are provided with creates a higher level of success and additional driver safety precautions," he said.
Gibson said the course is better with a partnership between the CHD and the PPD, because teen drivers can ask questions and talk to the police one-on-one about things they’ve seen out on the roads.
The course is designed for new drivers, particularly ages 14-16, to teach them what they need to do during the 40 hours of supervised practice driving time required by Joshua’s Law.
Register to attend the course by calling 644-5209 or going online at gachd.org. Participants must register by 4 p.m. on Thursday.