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Youngsters involved in awareness program for safe driving

The students from Cookeville High School in Tennessee are spreading the word to not use smart phones and to promote seatbelt use while driving in order to be safe. The CHS TEST club, of which the students are members, was started in 2010. The students are making an effort to reduce the number of car accidents involving drivers between 15 to 24 years of age. Presently, Putnam County reportedly has the most accidents involving young drivers.

The current accident rate is 195 accidents per 1,000 young drivers. Accidents also result in high costs relating to serious injuries, medical expenses and accident investigations.

The program started when the police officials saw the increased number of accidents involving young drivers and then contacted school authorities. The TEST Club is the very first club in the state promoting the message of safety and educating students and the general public about the risks involved in impaired and distracted driving.

The students involved in the program are trying to reduce the number of accidents through promotion of using seat belts while driving, as well as making young drivers realize that impaired and distracted driving are causes of avoidable accidents. The students have done research on the factors responsible for accidents and have come up with effective solutions. They are spreading the message in creative, memorable and positive ways. The community has become much safer since the TEST club's involvement.

The club has 11 officers and 148 members who meet once a month to converse about plans. Young people educating other young people can be very effective. The authorities believe that this attitude will lead to safer roads and less accidents. The founders of the club want to see a nationwide approach to the program. The club is proud of the fact that the word spread by the members is making a difference and is saving many young lives. It is important for everyone's safety to be aware of risks and to do everything possible to avoid those risks. However, if an accident does happen, the accident victims should be sure to understand the rights of which they are entitled.

Source: Herald-Citizen, "Prevention: Teens warn teens about driving dangers," Amy Davis, Dec. 2, 2012

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