March 31, 2008
by Wainwright Jeffers
Albany -- Two teenagers were killed in two separate south Georgia crashes over the last week. It's enough to make a parent ask 'How do I make sure my child is safe?'
If you have a teenagers, there are things you can do to help them stay safe on the roads.
It's a scene every parent dreads, but it's one two south Georgia families dealt with in the past five days.
"Both tragedies we've had in the past week were functions of drivers in pick up trucks," said Safe Communities Coordinator, Michelle DeMott. "Certainly we want to encourage parents, to always have their teenagers, remind their teenagers, every time the leave the house to buckle up."
One of the accidents happened off of Carter Place Road in Lee County, where police say the 19-year-old driver lost control of his pick-up truck, overturned, hit a tree, and killed his 19-year-old passenger.
Just a few days earlier, an 18-year-old Worth County boy was killed when his SUV was hit head-on by a pick-up truck driven by another teenager.
To help teen drivers stay safe on the road The Dougherty County Police Department offers a program for teens and their parents.
"One of the biggest things our department puts on is we put on a Pride presentation that's free to the public," said Lt. Tom Jackson of the Dougherty County Police Dept. "It's two and a half hours it's the first Wednesday of every month, but yet we run into the obstacle of trying to get people to participate to come to it, we're offering something free to the public that actually addresses these situations about multi-tasking and being distracted."
Parents themselves should also set an example for their children.
"Teenagers drive the way they see their parents drive weather that's buckled or un-buckled, aggressive, or safely, so we want to encourage parents to be good role models as well for their teenagers," said DeMott.
Young drivers don't have the advantage of experience on their side but parents can use technology to make sure they're doing the right thin on the road.
"One of the things we'd go over is, there's a program out there where you can put a camera in your car and you can actually see how your teen is driving, you can pull it any time on the Internet, on the computer and watch it," says Jackson. "That's another thing we go over in one of the classes, so if a parent wants to get really involved, it's kind of like big brother but maybe sometimes that's needed."
Needed to keep your son or daughter from being the next victim of a tragic crash. The PRIDE program stands for Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error. It's designed for teen drivers between the ages of fourteen and sixteen.
The program takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at six thirty at the Dougherty county police department.
If you're interested, you can call 229-430-6600, or click here for the Ride Safe website.