By: Makenzie Droll
Student drivers are more likely to be killed in car crashes than older, more experienced drivers. Twelve percent of distracted drivers involved in car accidents are teens ages 15 to 19 according to Edgar Snyder. Texting, talking on the phone and changing the radio stations distract teens the most. Teenagers 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers over 20 years old to be in fatal car crashes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roger Conley, Tussey Mountain High School’s drivers ed and Behind the Wheel teacher, has been teaching Behind the Wheel for two years. Conley likes teaching Behind the Wheel. During the two years Conley has taught behind the wheel, no students have wrecked with him in the car. He says, “I have not been scared to get in a car with a student.”
According to Conley, “all of them” (teenagers) are the worst drivers; therefore, taking Behind the Wheel is important. “It helps the students; some kids don’t listen to their parents [so maybe they will listen to me],” said Conley. Conley takes student drivers all around the area including Altoona and Bedford. He tries to hit all the interstates. Noah Foor is a senior student driver who drives to school. Foor has his license and his own car. Foor says he was “very nervous” before the test and “very happy” after his drivers’ test which he took in Altoona. Foor says he took his test in Altoona because “it seemed like it was easier.” Foor did not take drivers’ ed.
Caleb Sopher is a tenth grader who drives to school and does not own his own car. He drives his dad’s truck. Sopher took his drivers’ license test in Bedford. “It’s not a very high populated area, and I wanted to take the easiest test,” says Sopher. Sopher has not been in an accident and is currently in Drivers’ Ed. with Conley. Sopher’s parents taught him how to drive, and he practiced driving up until he got his license. Sopher spent 60 to 80 hours on the road. One rule that Sopher remembers is to “stay 200 feet away from the person in front of you, because you never know when they will hit their brakes. If you hit someone [from behind], it is automatically your fault.” Sopher says, “Always stay calm and never freak if you can make mistakes. [Freaking] will increase your chances of getting in a wreck.”
The help of Behind the Wheel driving class in school, practicing more, and knowing the vehicle helps young drivers stay safe while driving. It is safer to drive and keep your eyes on the road. It is very dangerous to text and drive or take your focus off of what you are doing. Teens should check with their insurance company to see if successfully taking a driver’s ed. course will provide a car insurance discount.