Educating the next generation of drivers

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Educating the next generation of drivers

Teen Traffic Safety Education instructors George Edmiston (left) and Jason Jackman, in front of Freedom High School in Hillsborough County

The Teen Traffic Safety Education Program is provided annually to Tampa Bay high school students enrolled in Driver’s Education.  During the 2019/20 school year, the program will impact 48 high schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties.

Students are taught important laws for driving appropriately alongside vulnerable road users, and  for walking and bicycling.   First, students take a pre-test to establish baseline knowledge of traffic laws.  Next, a knowledgeable instructor provides an interactive presentation about navigating the roadway as a pedestrian, as a bicyclist, and as a motor vehicle driver who will be travelling on the same road with people who are walking and biking. Lastly, students take a post-test to measure an increase in knowledge.

According to Ginger Regalado, Community Traffic Safety Team and Bicycle/Pedestrian manager for the Florida Department of Transportation District Seven, “The Teen Traffic Safety Education Program is vital because our youth is our future. We want them to understand the importance of all road users, but especially our vulnerable road users, bicyclists and pedestrians.  This educational opportunity allows them to have an active role in what they learn, as they can take what they learn and pass it on to others. Knowledge is power and a gift worth giving.”

One of the program’s goals is to achieve a ten-percent overall increase in knowledge of the materials covered. Driver’s Education teachers are included in program planning and provide an in-depth evaluation after each presentation. The program is managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida and  funded by the Florida Department of Transportation District Seven.

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