Al Nienhuis, Sheriff
Most young adults at the age of 16 take advantage of the privilege of obtaining a drivers license, with little or no formal training, before driving upon our streets, which contain many changing terrains and environments. Unfortunately, Teen Traffic Safety Statistics show:
- Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death and injury to teens in the United States and Florida.
- Injury producing crashes involving teens cost taxpayers over $32.8 billion dollars in 2000.
- Between 25 - 30% of teen drivers will be involved in a crash within the first 12 months of getting their operators license.
These are just a few of the concerns Sheriff Nienhuis has and shares with other parents who have children ready to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In an effort to prevent any further injuries or the senseless death of a loved one, Sheriff Nienhuis has pledged to continue to grow up with our youth by implementing this very educational and worthy course of instruction.
The Teen Driver Challenge is a defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for teenage drivers. The two-day program is designed to provide young drivers ages 16, 17 and 18 year olds with the knowledge and understanding of vehicle dynamics and human kinetics’, the forces created by an automobile and the effects of the forces on the human body.
The objective of the program is to enhance the young driver's awareness of the complex task of operating a motor vehicle and to create and practice skills that will prepare them to anticipate and handle hazards that occur daily in normal driving conditions. This program has been created by law enforcement professionals. The curriculums were created around the fact that most crashes involving teenage drivers are classified as "avoidable" and due to lack of experience or training, teens are not prepared to make the vehicle respond appropriately.
The education segment (defensive driving) is designed to give the student a better understanding of the responsibilities and liabilities of the driver, vehicle dynamics, friction and the effects of intoxicating substances on their ability to operate the vehicle. A traffic model is created at the beginning of the program and segments build on each other to a final conclusion; 35 mph is fast. This portion of the program gives the students a better understanding of why the vehicle responds the way it does and prepares them for the exercises on the driving range. The basic principles of safe, defensive driving are emphasized throughout this program.
Skills and Techniques
The purpose and the structure of this program is to give young drivers a strong foundation from which they can continue to develop and improve their driving skills to a consistently high level while maintaining safe driving habits. Due to lack of experience, most teens have little or no idea of how the vehicle responds in a given situation or how to regain control of the car once it is out of control.
Eight basic skills, actions and/or techniques of driving are identified as areas that teens need experience or training to safely operate a motor vehicle. Steering, acceleration, deceleration, backing and off road recovery are some of the tasks addressed in this program. Training exercises used in this program have been adopted from the law enforcement-training manual that is approved by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Student drivers must complete the following exercises:
Off road recovery
All classes are conducted under the direct supervision of certified high liability driving instructors. Instructors ride with each student and students move to the next exercise only after the instructor feels the student has demonstrated a reasonable degree of skill.
The Teen Driver Challenge is an effective program at reaching teens, modifying their attitudes and creating all around better teenage drivers.
So what can we do to help ensure that our kids live long enough to gain the experience necessary to become a good driver? We provide a training program that prepares them for emergency situations they may encounter everyday on our roadways & highways. We believe that we can reduce the chances of your child becoming a highway statistic through this defensive vehicle control program.
This 2-Day back-to-back course is as follows:
On Friday night the classroom instruction is held at the Sheriff’s Main Office in Brooksville from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Saturday, the range instruction is held at the Hernando County Airport from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Each student attending will receive instructions on where to meet for the range.
It is imperative to have all documentation filled out completely and notarized as requested. This is a first come first serve program, so be sure to get your forms in immediately. For further information, please contact the Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Support Division at (352) 754-6830 ext. 53660 for dates available to attend.