A program for teen drivers taught by PCSO driving instructors. Young drivers are taught the rules of the road and the consequences of distracted driving – due to texting, music, passengers, substance abuse. Call to Community Services to learn when the next class will be offered.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 20 across the nation. Safety on the roadways is a priority for Sheriff Gualtieri and he is committed to helping our youth get off to the best start behind the wheel.
The new program is called the Teen Driver Challenge, which is supported by the Florida Sheriffs Association. The program is part classroom/part driving experience. Safety on the road is everyone’s responsibility. The Teen Driver Challenge is one way teens and parents can build the foundation for years of safe driving.
The Teen Driver Challenge is a defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for teenage drivers. The two-day program is designed to provide young drivers with the knowledge and understanding of vehicle dynamics and human kinetics’, the forces created by an automobile and the effects of the forces on the human body.
The objective of the program is to enhance the young driver’s awareness of the complex task of operating a motor vehicle and to create and practice skills that will prepare them to anticipate and handle hazards that occur daily in normal driving conditions. This program has been created by law enforcement professionals. The curriculums were created around the fact that most crashes involving teenage drivers are classified as “avoidable” and due to lack of experience or training, teens are not prepared to make the vehicle respond appropriately.
The education segment (defensive driving) is designed to give the student a better understanding of the responsibilities and liabilities of the driver, vehicle dynamics, friction and the effects of intoxicating substances on their ability to operate the vehicle. A traffic model is created at the beginning of the program and segments build on each other to a final conclusion; 35 mph is fast. This portion of the program gives the students a better understanding of why the vehicle responds the way it does and prepares them for the exercises on the driving range. The basic principles of safe, defensive driving are emphasized throughout this program.
Skills and Techniques:
The purpose and the structure of this program is to give young drivers a strong foundation from which they can continue to develop and improve their driving skills to a consistently high level while maintaining safe driving habits. Due to lack of experience, most teens have little or no idea of how the vehicle responds in a given situation or how to regain control of the car once it is out of control.
Eight basic skills, actions and/or techniques of driving are identified as areas that teens need experience or training to safely operate a motor vehicle. Steering, acceleration, deceleration, backing and off road recovery are some of the tasks addressed in this program. Training exercises used in this program have been adopted from the law enforcement-training manual that is approved by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Student drivers must complete the following exercises:
- Evasive Maneuvers
- Off Road Recovery
- Threshold – Emergency Braking
- Forward Serpentine
- Reverse Serpentine
- Figure 8
All classes are conducted under the direct supervision of certified high liability driving instructors. Instructors ride with each student and students move to the next exercise only after the instructor feels the student has demonstrated a reasonable degree of skill.
The Teen Driver Challenge is an effective program at reaching teens, modifying their attitudes and creating all around better teenage drivers. So what can we do to help ensure that our kids live long enough to gain the experience necessary to become a good driver? We provide a training program that prepares them for emergency situations they may encounter everyday on our roadways & highways. We believe that we can reduce the chances of your child becoming a highway statistic through this defensive vehicle control program.
PLEASE NOTE: A valid learner or operator license and a vehicle are required to complete this course, along with a photo-copy of the teen’s drivers license and insurance card.
The classroom portion is held from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the ASB located at 14500 49th Street North, Clearwater. The three forms below must be brought to the classroom portion in order for the student to drive the following day. A vehicle is not needed for the 5:00 p.m – 9 p.m classroom training.
The driving portion is from 8:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Pinellas County Public Works Operations building located at 4550 126th Ave N. Students must provide a vehicle, in good working order, for the 8:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m. portion.
To enroll, you must download the forms, some of which must be notarized. The program is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please click the links below for release forms and applications.
- Vehicle Owner’s Statement of Permission and Release of All Claims
- Parental Permission Form and Release of All Claims
- Student Statement of Voluntary Participation and Release of All Claims
If you have any questions or would like to sign up please contact Deputy Rick Serra at firstname.lastname@example.org.