Unbelted teens

Waking Teens to the Positives of Driving Safe

The state of Georgia is taking a novel approach to promoting teen driving safety. At their Georgia National Fair, a special contest is taking place to challenge teens on the ins and outs of driving safety. There is a written test about drunk driving as well as a series of simulated driving tests. The ultimate winner will drive home in a new VW bug.

The Houston Country District Attorney’s office in Georgia has had booths about safe teen driving set up in the past with informative literature that was passed out to teen drivers. However, many people were quite sure that those teens never really read the information. With a collaboration of several entities including insurance giant GEICO, the contest concept to promote teen safety was born.

Some might say that the grand prize of a car is a kind of bribe and that once the contest is over, teens will just forget what they have learned in the contest. However, others feel that because teens live in the moment, they don’t really look ahead to what “might” be. They are not going to think about driving safety and how it can impact their future. However, by participating in the contest and going through various levels of simulated driving tests, it could be quite an eye opener for many self-absorbed teens.

It is often said that talking with teens you can expect 10% of the message to be retained. However, the hands-on approach is a lot more effective and the retention rate of the message could be as high as 90% or more. Granted, the whole driving age teen population of Georgia won’t participate in the contest, however, even the mention of the contest and what it is about may at the very least make teens more cognizant of their surrounding when behind the wheel.

Teens aged 15 to 18 with a learner’s permit or a driver’s license can participate in the contest hosted at the Georgia National Fair. The whole contest takes several days and each day teens are eliminated or passed on through depending on their performances on the simulated driving tests. If anything, the attention is likely to grow with each day of the fair and the hope is that more and more teens will visit the safe driving booth, even if they are not participating.

Again, some people feel that the prize of a car is a bribe for teens. However, when it comes to preserving teen lives on the road, any type of incentive within reason should be used. So if a car will lower teen driving fatalities, who is to say that it is wrong?

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