Educating Teens On Safe Driving

71

seatbeltOn Wednesday, May 29 School Resource Officer Joey Melvin hosted a seatbelt safety demonstration at Milford High School, partnering with the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware State Police Seat Belt Demolition Unit. Showing students the importance of not only wearing their seatbelt but being an attentive driver, Officer Melvin demonstrated the forces that occur during a physical crash using the Delaware State Police Crash simulator.

“Being present at serious traffic collisions unfortunately is a norm in my profession,” stated School Resource Officer Joey Melvin. “I want to find ways to impact my students and help them realize the dangers of traveling unrestrained. I can’t take them to the hospital to see the terrible injuries or to a home to tell family members a loved one died. The visual of the rollover convincer has been a great tool to show what happens to occupants during a collision.”

According to the Office of Highway Safety, the highest rate of crashes occur between 7am to 8am and 3pm to 6pm when schools are opening and closing. With Delaware Motor Vehicle licensing approximately 750, 16 and 17 year olds every month the focus on educating young drivers is necessary.

“These are young drivers and they feel that they are invincible behind the wheel,” stated Alison Kirk, Office of Highway Safety Community Relations Officer, when asked about why early education is necessary for young drivers. “We want to make sure they are buckled up, wearing their seat belts and not using their phone while driving.” Kirk added that the biggest offenses in personal injury crashes that involve 16 and 17 year olds are inattentive driving,which can include cell phones, failure to yield and speeding.

The Delaware State Police Crash Simulator, which demonstrates what happens to a person during a rollover crash with and without a seat belt, has been visiting schools around the state of Delaware for several years. During the month of May the simulator visited both Milford High School and Cross Christian Academy in Milford. Corporal Jay Burns, Delaware State Trooper with the Collision Reconstruction Unit, along with other officers educate young drivers on the physics that take place during a crash.

“There are three collisions that take place during a crash,” explains Corporal Burns to a class of teenagers at Cross Christian Academy. “There is the collision of the car into an object, the collision of the human inside the vehicle hitting an object and an internal collision where the internal organs of the human body crash into the body.” Corporal Burns states that the root cause for most of the crashes he reconstructs is that the individual has not given themselves enough time and is in a rush while driving.

The Office of Highway Safety encourages parents to get involved with the education of their young drivers.The Graduated Driver License (GDL) Parent Orientation Program  (POP)  is now available online at www.ohs.delaware.gov/OHSGDL/story.html for all parents and sponsors of new teen drivers in Delaware.  The program gives parents educational resources to help educate and teach their new drivers how to drive safely, and what responsibilities and liabilities the parent assumes with a newly licensed driver. For more information and resources for first time drivers and on the Graduated Driver License, the Office of Highway Safety encourages individuals to visit their website at www.ohs.delaware.gov and click on “Teen Driving” or visit www.teendriving.dmv.de.gov.