Teen drivers learn about reckless and distracted driving

This past week local teens and emergency services personnel received training to help reduce the number one killer of young people ages 15 to 24, distracted and reckless driving. Posted 11/16/17

by Lisa Nowatzki

The goal of the training is to reduce the number of teen drivers killed by distractions and recklessness.

Each student at Langdon Area High School (LAHS) received training for defensive driving in a program called Alive at 25. The Cavalier County Sheriff’s department and local emergency services personnel received training for a program called  Train the Trainer through the nationwide education and safety “Impact Teen Driver Program.”

Both programs have been successful in curbing distracted teen accidents through changes in cultural and psychological thinking. The instructors for each program stress that their programs are NOT drivers education courses.

According to their website, “Alive at 25 is a highly interactive 4.5 hour program targeted toward drivers under the age of 25 that helps young drivers take greater responsibility for their driving. Alive at 25 incorporates Reality Therapy and Choice™ Theory techniques to help participants identify the five basic needs that drive human behavior.”

The Impact Teen Drive’s website describes the course  as a nationwide educational program that confronts the dangers and consequences of reckless and distracted driving. With free online materials and direct trainings available, its unique grass roots framework empowers people to make meaningful behavioral changes in their own driving habits as well as to promote safe driving in their community”

Langdon Area School District Superintendent Daren Christianson was able to schedule a time for the North Dakota Highway Patrol to present the Alive at 25 program to the ninth through twelfth grade high school students. The program was made possible through a grant from the North Dakota Safety Council.

Christianson stated that he does have plans to apply for another grant to help fund the program for the upcoming high school students. He also said that if he could not get or qualify for another grant, he would seek public donations and assistance because the program is a valuable resource that the community needs.

Caleb Blackwell, a local high school student who had just finished the Alive at 25 program, stated, “I like a more prepared driver. I am more aware of drivers on the Interstate. I notice things like [others] talking on cell phones and exceeding the posted speed limit.“

Blackwell went on to say that the course really opens up your eyes to the [unsafe] things people do, including yourself. Some things you may not realize you were doing.

According to a NDSU study of the office of the Alive at 25 program, Andrew Kubas and Kimberly Vachal stated, “In a sample of 6,640 class participants, drivers had fewer crashes, traffic-related citations, and DUI arrests within a six-month and twelve-month period of completing the class.”

Anyone can go to the and register to take the course. The cost is $55 for the public and $75 for court-ordered.

Impact Teen Drivers is a California-based non-profit program that was formed for the purpose of providing awareness and education to teenagers, their parents, and community members about all facets of responsible driving with the goal of reducing the number of injuries and deaths suffered by teens as a result of distracted driving and poor decision making.

The founding sponsors of the nationwide program are the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, California Casualty Insurance, and the California Teacher’s Association.

According to the Impact Teen Drivers website, the program has reached over 2,000,000 high school students across the nation and educated them on the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.

Again, science and psychology are key components of the Impact Teen Drivers program along with focus groups and research. They have learned the most effective way to engage a young person so that you can educate them about the dangers of poor decision-making behind the wheel is to connect on a visceral or emotional level.

The Train the Trainer class the sheriff’s department and other emergency services personnel participated in, is part of the multifaceted approach offered by the Impact Teen Drivers [program]. The group also offers, School Presentations, Lead-the-Leader Training, Parent-Teen Safe Driving Workshops, and Affected Family Training.

Cavalier County Sheriff Greg Fetsch stated, “All the personnel who attended the Train the Trainer session on November 8 are now qualified to teach the Impact Teen Driver course to students, parents, and anyone else interested in learning methods to reduce the dangers and consequences of reckless and distracted driving.”

The sheriff also said that because the high school just participated in Alive at 25, he has no immediate plans to teach a class, though he does think at some point after the first of the year, he may try to offer the program to students and/or parents.

To learn more about the Impact Teen Drivers, go to:

Though each facilitator brands their program as the best at preventing teen accidents caused by reckless and distracted driving, the truth is that both programs are great. Each program educates young drivers and makes them more aware of the reckless and distracted actions that lead to auto accidents and fatalities. The heightened awareness leads to fewer teen fatalities. That is a fact that everyone wants to hear.

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