Late last month the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced its first annual Teen Driver Education Camp, which is being offered to 200 high school students from around the state. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will serve as hosts for the camp, which will take place at the department’s training center between Monday July 16 and Friday July 20, 2018.
Intended for rising high school freshmen and sophomores, the camp will require participants to complete two days of educational training. Training will include: AAA’s “How to Drive” curriculum, a mock crash demonstration, traffic safety presentations, driving simulators, and other indoor & outdoor events.
A first group of campers will attend from 9 am to 4 pm on Monday and Tuesday of the above-named week. A second group will attend from 9 am to 4 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, all participants will attend a graduation ceremony and receive their certificate of completion.
Teen Driver Education Camp’s Guest Speakers are Car Crash Survivors
Most notably, several guest speakers will address the campers during the course of the week.
One is a crash survivor who has endured upwards of two-dozen surgeries to treat the injuries she suffered in a 2008 crash on Holt Road in Brentwood, an accident that took the life of her 19-year-old boyfriend. (The accident occurred when her boyfriend lost control while speeding to pass another vehicle.)
Another guest speaker is a former Lambuth University football player who was paralyzed from the chest down in September 2009 after he was involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver who was suspected of texting and driving.
In separate but equally notable news, the THP recently announced that it is partnering with David Francisco to raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving. Francisco, who is in his mid-20s, was biking home from class in Nashville in April 2016 when a distracted driver ran a red light and t-boned him. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. His experience inspired him to help promote the Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving campaign, which is held annually each April, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
As you may know, I am passionate about stopping texting and driving, which has been a crime in Tennessee since 2010.
It’s frightening to think about, but “one quarter of all teens admit to responding to a text every time they drive,” according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, a statistic I highlighted in the above-linked post. “Even worse, 10 percent of adults admit to engaging in ‘extended, multi-message text conversations’ while driving.”
The Risks of Texting and Driving
One thing the students at the Teen Driver Education Camp will learn firsthand from the assembled guest speakers is: If you speed or text & drive you take enormous risks that include the possibility of:
- Dying or suffering catastrophic, life-altering injuries
- Killing, maiming or crippling innocent victims
- Becoming the defendant in a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit
Regular readers of this blog will know that we have highlighted our share of tragic car accidents involving teen drivers, including a fatal head-on collision caused by a teenager driving the wrong way on I-440. (In that case, the teenager fled the scene but later called police and reportedly admitted to drinking before the accident.)
So if you’re a rising freshman or sophomore in high school, I encourage you to sign up for the camp at reducetncrashes.org’s Driver Education Camp page. Slots are expected to fill quickly, but there will be a waiting list in the event there are cancellations.
Of course, if you have any questions about texting and driving, or our law firm’s experience with distracted driving cases, don’t hesitate to contact us online. Or, if you or a family member has been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver or a driver suspected of texting and driving, don’t hesitate to call us at (615) 256-6666 for a free, no obligation consultation. The compassionate attorneys at Raybin & Weissman have decades of experience in both personal injury law and criminal law. We will fight to get you justice!