As funding for high school driver education programs dwindles, vehicle accidents remain the biggest killer of youths age 16-20. That is why Tire Rack Street Survival, a national non-profit teen driving education program, has partnered with former IndyCar driver and current ABC/ESPN racing commentator, Scott Goodyear, to host multiple schools around the country during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18-24). Conceived by the BMW CCA Foundation in 2002, the Tire Rack Street Survival schools are designed to save lives and raise awareness about the number one killer of teens.
In 2007, Congress enacted National Teen Driver Safety Week to address the epidemic of teen driving deaths. Each year more than 5,000 youths ages 16-20 die, and more than 400,000 are injured behind the wheel. On average, one teen per hour is killed every weekend, and once every two hours during the week. 108 families needlessly lose a child every seven days. In an effort to lower that number and to call attention to outdated and less effective driver education programs, Tire Rack Street Survival will kick off National Teen Driver Safety Week with a school in Mahwah, NJ and host 5 schools across the country during that week. The schools are scheduled for Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Byron, IL; Richmond, VA; and Fort Worth,TX.
“The goal of the Tire Rack Street Survival program is to save lives by teaching young drivers the basics of car control, to enhance their enjoyment of driving and to improve their overall competence as drivers,” said Scott Goodyear. “Inexperience behind the wheel, and more importantly a lack of proper training, is the number one cause of fatal accidents among teens in this country and I am proud to be part of the Tire Rack Street Survival program.”
Unlike traditional novice driver education programs based on classroom theory and simple maneuvers, Tire Rack Street Survival improves driver competence through hands-on experiences in real-world driving situations. Students learn emergency braking and skid control in wet and dry conditions, how to correct unintended oversteer and understeer situations, how to avoid accidents entirely and learn how to control their vehicle, rather than just operate it.
“We’re working to make the roads safer for everyone,” said Bill Wade, Tire Rack Street Survival National Program Manager. “Although it’s a year-round problem, National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness and educate parents and teens to the importance of learning proper car control. Few teens realize driving is one of the most dangerous things they can do.”
“With more than 25 years’ experience racing at 230mph, I understand how important it is to be in complete control whenever the car is moving,” added Goodyear. “After seeing my son successfully avoid an accident after executing a maneuver he learned from Tire Rack Street Survival instructors, I knew I needed to become involved.”
To kick off National Teen Driver Safety Week, Goodyear will share his expertise and knowledge as a professional driver with teen drivers enrolled in the Mahwah, NJ and Indianapolis, IN schools.
“Communities that participate in National Teen Driver Safety Week become part of the solution and the experienced, volunteer coaches who understand car control and work individually with each driver are fulfilling their responsibility,” said Matt Edmonds, vice president of Tire Rack. “I urge parents to take an active role in educating their young drivers and preserving our future and most precious resource: our youth.”
Tire Rack Street Survival classes are conducted by local member volunteers from regional chapters of the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA), the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and other car clubs. Students, driving their own vehicles, are supervised at all times by experienced, knowledgeable driving coaches. In 2008, 72 communities signed up to benefit 1,555 students. Fifty-four schools have been completed for 2009 and another 22 are open for registration. Community leaders or concerned parents interested in requesting a Tire Rack Street Survival school for their community can visit www.streetsurvival.org or call 502.649.4871.
The non-profit, tax-exempt charitable BMW CCA Foundation, Inc. was formed in 2002 by the BMW Car Club of America, to provide benefits to the motoring public community and owners of BMW automobiles. Its charter under Section 501(c) (3) enables the Foundation to establish programs to benefit the public in general, and BMW owners specifically. The vision of the Foundation is to be a significant repository of BMW information and to foster educational programs, including the Tire Rack Street Survival program, for the automotive community.