Tennessee leads country in teen fatality car wrecks

Tennessee leads country in teen fatality car wrecks

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Mike Lewis is an agent with State Farm Insurance. He is behind a teen driving course called Street Safe that has been used successfully in North Carolina. Mike Lewis is an agent with State Farm Insurance. He is behind a teen driving course called Street Safe that has been used successfully in North Carolina.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The number of teens killed in car accidents in the United States rose by 19 percent last year. Tennessee tied with Indiana for the most in the country. 

Each day thousands of new drivers head out onto the roads. With that inexperience comes accidents and sometimes they're fatal.

In Tennessee, the number of 16 and 17 year olds killed in car accidents almost tripled from six in 2011 to 16 in 2012.

Mike Lewis is an agent with State Farm Insurance. He is behind a teen driving course called Street Safe that has been used successfully in North Carolina.

"There's no way to really own something until you experience it and that's one of the things that Street Safe will do for kids," said Lewis.

The program teaches kids how to react to real life driving situations that often lead to accidents.

"It's intense," said Lewis. "They will make you slide the car. If you are not going fast enough, they'll say you need to go faster and then slam on the breaks."

Lewis first brought the program to Bearden High School last October. Now, it's heading to Hardin Valley Academy where they have been affected by several teen fatality wrecks just in the last three years.

"It's frightening because I have two teenage boys and one has his license and the other is getting ready to get his learner's permit," said Susan Perry, vice president of the Hardin Valley PTSA.

Perry says they brought the program to the school after a recent increase in accidents.

"Almost daily there is some kind of accident or fender bender in the school parking lot or on Hardin Valley Road," said Perry.

They hope the program will help students learn to eliminate distractions behind the wheel and become better driver.

The Street Safe course is being held Saturday March 9th at Hardin Valley Academy. It is $55 to register and open to all students. Interested parties can apply online.

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