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One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Deadly crashes are up 36 percent in two years and 13 to 20 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians. KGUN 9 is committed to making our roads a safer place to travel on foot, on bikes, and in our vehicles and we welcome your input. Send your issues and concerns about the safety of our roadways to saferoads@kgun9.com or call 520-290-7690.

Teens taught evasive driving with hands-on course

Operation Safe Roads

TUCSON, Ariz. - Car accidents are the leading killer of teenagers and experts say improper training is a big factor in these crashes.

In Tucson, Safe Teen Accident Reduction Training (START) is teaching teen drivers how to maneuver in dangerous situations behind the wheel.

"The program's invaluable, because it teaches them the skills that it takes to survive out on the streets -- the life-saving skills when it comes to driving. Not everyone takes advantage of this program, but it makes the kids quite a bit safer when they're driving," said Mark Molina, a START Instructor.

The students spend about one hour in the classroom, then they spend the rest of the day behind the wheel. They are taught evasive steering, controlled braking, skid control, off road recovery, baking up, and they each get a chance to experience a distracted driving simulator.

"I'm happy I joined this class because its really fun and it teaches you to get out of problems that could actually save you," said START student, Kaiden Brown.

The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer are coming to a close, but driving dangers are present year-around. Tucson Police said START can help bring the number of teen deaths in car accidents down.

"Over the course of the day, we build their confidence. They often times come in, hear what we have to do, not very sure that they can accomplish it, but through practice and as they progress through the exercises they get more confident," said Molina.

All classes for the month of September are full. Registration for October classes opens September 21st at 8 a.m.

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