Program teaches teen drivers safety skills

Jamie Dakins/Special to the Herald Union
Amy Gonzalez, Wiesbaden High School sophomore, uses the UPS Road Code driving simulator with the guidance of Trayden Mahan, Wiesbaden High School junior.

Inexperience cited as major cause of car accidents

Twelve Wiesbaden High School students opted to be in a classroom on a day off of school to learn about driving safety. They were visited by Michael Gast and Max Wirthmueller, two United Parcel Service drivers and volunteer instructors, who presented the UPS Road Code Program. The program is aimed at providing motor vehicle operating tips and safety techniques for teen drivers.

The free program is the result of a partnership between UPS and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with Wiesbaden being the test site for launching the program abroad. When asked why Road Code is important for teens, Gast said, “I’m on the street every day, and I see what can happen; I see the consequences of inexperienced drivers.” Gast and fellow UPS drivers are the ideal presenters for road safety because, according to the UPS website, they average less than one crash per million miles driven.

WHS students spent the majority of the program learning the eight danger zones of driving, with the most crucial being driver inexperience.
“A brand new driver is 12 times more likely to have an accident than one who has extensive time behind the wheel,” Wirthmueller said, while discussing the importance of teens practicing driving with a parent or licensed adult.

Road Code topics such as cell phone usage, road conditions and passenger recommendations were supplemented with time on a driving simulator. The simulator offered a variety of settings including impaired or distracted driving and nighttime challenges. Calvin Tornabell, a WHS freshman who completed the course, said he attended the program “to get a head start on driving.”
Additional Road Code sessions will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on June 18, July 23 and Aug. 20.

Any child age 14 and up is eligible, but space is limited to 15 students per session. Lunch and refreshments are provided, and registration is required.

To register contact the Hainerberg Teen Center at (0611) 143-548-9341.