New Program Trains Teens To Drive Safer

The humor is dark, but typically teen.

"Yep, that's 4 dead pedestrians," says one teen as another runs down 3 cones.

While this teenager might be joking, the skills he's practicing are no laughing matter.

"I've been driving for quiet a long while," says Harrison Central Sophomore Justin Sherrell. "And I even learned some stuff I didn't even know."

The 15 year old may consider himself an old hand at driving, but he and  other teen drivers found a lot to learn in a class called Collision Avoidance Training.

"It's a 2 part program, class room and a practical exercise that you can see behind me," says Harrison County Sheriffs Department Captain Windy Swetman. "These students get the opportunity to.come out on this course with trained law enforcement officers who are driving range instructors to teach them the proper techniques and procedures to operate their motor vehicle.

Teamed with the national Partners for Highway Safety Foundation, Harrison County hopes to stem the number of crashes in South Mississippi that have injured and killed so many young people.

"We know the leading cause of death for that age group is automobile fatalities," says Swetman. "So we want to reduce that here in South Mississippi. We going to take every effort we can to keep our young people safe."

The class is also a chance for more school resource officers to become certified Collision Avoidance instructors.

"Those four school resource officers will be able to serve the citizens of Harrison County by providing this training on a quarterly basis throughout the year," says Swetman. "A year they hope to make a safer one for teen drivers.