Program to Teach So. Md. Teens to Drive to Survive - Southern Maryland Headline News

Program to Teach So. Md. Teens to Drive to Survive


PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. - Southern Maryland's young drivers, and their parents, will be given a special gift this holiday season that may well one day save a life.

The Advanced Safety and Collision Avoidance Training program, otherwise known as Drive 2 Survive, is coming to southern Maryland in early December courtesy of several Calvert County organizations.

Drive 2 Survive is dedicated to educating drivers, especially teen-aged drivers, about the unexpected situations they may encounter on our roads. The program strives to give the young drivers "real world" skills, especially the experience they need to avoid collisions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while teens account for only 7 percent of all drivers, they are responsible for 20 percent of collisions and 14 percent of fatalities.

The program's founders stress that Drive 2 Survive is not a routine "Driver's Ed" program. "Our mission is to reduce vehicle collisions and fatalities by eliminating driver error through training and education, research and advocacy," said Eric Espinosa, Director of Drive 2 Survive. "It is an advanced driving program for what is occurring on our roadways."

The Drive 2 Survive program is product of the National Institute of Vehicle Dynamics (NIVD). The program has been approved by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) according to the NIVD.

Drive 2 Survive is being brought to southern Maryland courtesy of Bayside Toyota-Scion of Prince Frederick, the Calvert County Safety Council (CCTSC), and the Calverton School. The CCTSC is an umbrella organization that consists of the Calvert County Sheriffs Department, the Maryland State Police Barrack "U", Calvert County Schools, Calvert Memorial Hospital, and the Calvert County Health Department. The Calverton School, located in Huntingtown, is a private, college preparatory day school.

Geoff Wanamaker, General Manager of Bayside Toyota-Scion, said that the dealership is very aware of the high number of fatal crashes that have occurred in the southern Maryland area this year. "We would like to have our young people gain accident avoidance skills and vehicle control in a safe environment instead of on Route 4, at the wrong time, and in a bad situation," said Geoff.

"We are involved because we care about our young drivers' safety, and we wanted to give something back to our community," added Steve Thompson, also of Bayside Toyota-Scion. "I enrolled my daughter in the program and have seen how it works. This is not a driver's education program. It is an advanced collision avoidance training program that is very powerful in how it teaches drivers the skills necessary to avoid dangerous situations."

The Drive 2 Survive program has two separate and distinct parts-both of which encourage parent participation. The program starts in the classroom where the in-vehicle maneuvers the students will learn are demonstrated via video animation and subsequently discussed. The second part of the program involves behind-the-wheel driving instruction. Two hours are dedicated to the classroom experience while six hours are spent in the latter half of the program.

The Drive 2 Survive instructors routinely teach police officers how to stay safe behind the wheel. Now they take on a much tougher challenge, our newest and most vulnerable drivers.

The program is open to any teenager in the tri-county, southern Maryland area. There is a $200 cost per student. Students are required to have a Maryland learner's permit. They must also have completed 30 hours of classroom and 6 hours behind-the-wheel of State-mandated driver's education before they will be permitted to participate in the in-car training.

The classroom instruction will be hosted by The Calverton School in Huntingtown on Friday December 8th at 7:00 PM. The driving instruction will be at the Navy's Webster Field facility in St. Inigoes on Saturday Dec. 9th at 7:00 a.m.

To sign up for the class, go to http://www.drive2survive.org/ , click on "Training Schedule" on the left side of the page and follow instructions for the December 8th and 9th class.

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