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Keeping teens safe on the roads

Drivers education teaches young drivers how operate a vehicle. The classes don’t often spend a lot of time on what to do when things go wrong, though. That’s where Tire Rack Street Survival hopes to fill in the gaps.

The program, which locally is put on by the North Star BMW Club, teaches fledgling drivers the skills they need to stay alive behind the wheel. Organizer Tyler Arvig said the course starts with some classroom material but the most important lessons they get out of the program come from the behind-the-wheel experience.

The teens get hands on experience dealing with everyday hazards and obstacles in a controlled environment. While they want students to take the responsibility of driving seriously, Arvig said the driving portion of the class is enjoyable because the students get to try things they wouldn’t otherwise.

“How many times do you get told to gun it?” Arvig said.

The students complete the training in their own vehicles, so the experience translates to their everyday driving right away. Arvig said he wishes such a program would have been available when he was a new driver.

“I really believe in it as a program,” said Arvig.

The club sets up at Dakota County Technical College twice a year to offer the nationally recognized program. He said the goal is to prevent accidents.

According to Tire Rack car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people 15 to 20 years old. Annually, more than 5,000 teens are killed nationally in car crashes.

While saving lives is important, Arvig said they also hope to help kids avoid fender benders.

“If we save people some fender benders, it’s worth it,” said Arvig.

Arvig said the club has been hosting the classes for at least eight years. Economically, Arvig said the course is a good deal. The course cost is $75 per student.

“It’s really a great value,” said Arvig.

The next Tire Rack Street Survival class will be held Jan. 18 at DCTC. Currently there is a waiting list to get in.

“We always have more demand than capacity,” said Arvig.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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