KPD offers teen defensive driving course

KPD offers teen defensive driving course

Posted:
The majority of the 12-hour course is spent on the track handling scenarios like hydroplaning or avoiding obstacles in the road. The majority of the 12-hour course is spent on the track handling scenarios like hydroplaning or avoiding obstacles in the road.
"This class teaches you how to drive at speeds that are safe and knowing what your car can handle and what you can handle and I didn't know that before," said Taylor Purcell, a teen driver. "This class teaches you how to drive at speeds that are safe and knowing what your car can handle and what you can handle and I didn't know that before," said Taylor Purcell, a teen driver.
The course is open to licensed drivers ages 16 to 19. The course is open to licensed drivers ages 16 to 19.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Teen drivers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers.  Tennessee has the eighth highest rate in the country.

It's a problem the Knoxville Police Department is trying to tackle head on.

Teen drivers at KPD's inaugural defensive driving course spent their Saturday learning advanced skills to stay safe on the roads.

"They have this attitude that they already know how to drive, but then once we put them in these situations in these defensive driving obstacles, they realize they really don't know how to drive so we give them those skills," said Michele Goldsberry, KPD driving range master.

Taylor Purcell is one of those teens. The 17-year-old senior is here because she received a speeding ticket, but in just hours she says she's learned a great deal.

"This class teaches you how to drive at speeds that are safe and knowing what your car can handle and what you can handle and I didn't know that before," said Taylor Purcell.

The course is open to licensed drivers ages 16 to 19. It's KPD's hope this will act as an advanced course, supplementing the knowledge they received from their parents or driver's ed.

"We don't want this to be a driver's ed class. It's more like a drive for life type thing. We want to give them the scenarios. We wanted to give them the skills to be more aware on the road and by them being more aware of adverse conditions, that helps us in the long run," said Goldsberry.

They spend four hours in the classroom, but the majority of the 12-hour course is spent on the track handling scenarios like hydroplaning or avoiding obstacles in the road.  These are lessons Purcell says might have prevented mistakes she's made in the past.

"I would have thought twice about it," said Purcell. "I've learned how to be a safer driver."

Knoxville police offer the defensive driving course once a month.

The next class is scheduled for May 24-25.  

To sign up, you can call the Knoxville Police Department's Training Unit at 865-215-1308 or print and mail an application to:

Knoxville Police Department
Attention: T.R.A.C.K.
P.O. Box 3610
Knoxville, TN 37927

More information on the program is available of the City of Knoxville's website.

The program costs $125 per teen.

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