Georgia Teens Participate in Safe Driving Program to Learn About Accident Prevention
Teen Victim Impact Program Operating Georgia To Teach Teens About Safe Driving and Accident Prevention
Fatal car accidents account for a significant number of teenage deaths each year. On average, 3,000 teenagers tragically die each year from car accidents. This averages out to about 60 deaths per year per state. Because teenage driving deaths are becoming an epidemic, certain educational and support groups have taken action to teach teens just how dangerous driving, as well as how disastrous and tragic the consequences of an accident, can be.
Retired Georgia Police Officer Starts the Teen Victim Impact Program (TVIP)
In 2006, a retired Georgia police officer started a program to help teens understand the consequences of car accidents, and how there are a variety of factors that can contribute to car accidents. At this time, this program, called the Teen Victim Impact Program (TVIP), is operating in Alabama and Georgia and is now being introduced in Tennessee.
Teens who are convicted of certain traffic offenses are required to participate in this educational program to learn how they can prevent unnecessary accidents. For example, if a teen is given a ticket for speeding, that teen may be required to participate in the TVIP program as part of his or her sentence. However, this is not meant as punishment but rather as an educational tool to deter unsafe driving practices in the future.
The retired Georgia police officer who started the TVIP program believes that many teens have the attitude that “it won't happen to me,” and that “I won't get in a wreck, as that that happens to other people.” By having this attitude, this retired Georgia police officer believes that the teenagers have a heightened feeling of safety that is not real. A variety of factors can contribute to teenage car accidents that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Talking on the phone (whether hands-free or not);
- Changing the radio station;
- Failing to wear a seatbelt;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel; and
- Engaging in other distracting behavior.
Passengers also have a responsibility to ensure teenagers are practicing safe driving, as a distracting passenger can make it difficult for a driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. As such, the TVIP program is not only for drivers, but passengers as well.
The Goal of TVIP
The TVIP program brings reality to teenage driving that many teenagers have not yet seen or experienced. For example, parents who have lost their children from fatal car accidents often come and speak to teens who are participating in the program. One mother brought a box of her son's ashes to a TVIP session just to make sure the teenagers understood just how real the risk is. While the TVIP program may not convince every teen driver to quit speeding or to stop distracting driving behaviors, some teens will listen and consider the advice and guidance of those offering the TVIP program.
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