AAA program helps parents, teen drivers "Take the Wheel"

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

ARDMORE, OK - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. It is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and parents and organizations are utilizing programs to increase the safety of teen drivers.

Teresa Berryhill says she has seen the devastating effects losing a child in an accident can have on a family when one of her friends children was killed in a car crash. This mother of three says that makes it hard to let her boys get behind the wheel.

"I see it as very important to bring to their attention at this time, that they need to drive carefully, and for parents too to be aware that there are programs out there that will help them assist their driver," Berryhill says.

Berryhill says she felt more secure about letting her boys take off after discovering a AAA Oklahoma program called "Take the Wheel."

Learners having to spend at least 55 hours behind the wheel under parent supervision is just one of the requirements, as is defensive driving training, and driving at night.

"I think they're doing very well. They seem very confident after having gone through this program. I'm more confident about them driving by themselves now," says Berryhill.

Berryhill says it took her kids about nine months to complete the course. AAA Oklahoma spokesperson Chuck Mai says the program is meant for parents who want to be involved in their teen's driver education, and he says this experience behind the wheel is invaluable.

"What parents need to realize and teenagers also is that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and really people under the age of 25. There are many things we can do to prevent these crashes from occurring," Mai says.

Mai says over the past 11 years they have seen great results from the program.

"Lots of parents tell us that the teens are learning how to drive. They're becoming safer drivers, and the parents are learning some things as well. They're correcting their own bad habits."

The course is open to the public. You can learn more about take the wheel by checking the link below.

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