Maryville Police Chief Tony Jay Crisp has announced that one of his department’s New Year’s resolutions is to reduce the number of teenage crashes, injuries and deaths in 2009.
“Even one death of a teenager on our highways is too many,” Crisp said.
With reducing teen crashes a top priority, the police department has finalized an agreement with the National Traffic Safety Academy to establish a new training program entitled “Collision Avoidance Training (CAT), especially designed for teen drivers.
The CAT class is split into two days of training. The first class will be held at the Maryville Municipal Center from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23 The Saturday class will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 24.
Participants must be at least 16 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license, and have auto insurance. Class size is limited and the deadline to register is Friday, Jan. 16. There is a $125 fee for CAT, which covers the cost of licensing for the City of Maryville to use the training program, instructors and materials. Students participating in the class may be able to obtain a discount on their insurance premium upon completion.
Parents or guardians interested in enrolling their teen for the January class should call Sgt. Jason Barham at the Maryville Police Department at 865-977-6964. “Since our plan is to take a pro-active approach to reducing teen crashes, this training program will be the anchor of our efforts. I am sure many parents will be very interested in providing their teens with additional driver’s training and education,” Barham said. “We have had a number of requests to offer the program here in our community.”
The National Traffic Safety Academy, the creator of the program and materials, is a non-profit teen traffic safety organization, recognized throughout the U. S. for its unique and effective programs. The program has been designed around the fact that most teen crashes are due to inexperience and inadequate skills during emergency situations. Because this is an advanced defensive driving and car control program, it is only available through local police departments or sheriffs’ offices. According to the organization, automobile crashes are the leading cause of deaths and injuries to teens in the State of Tennessee.
“The Collision Avoidance Training program has been very successful in many parts of the country” Crisp said. “If we save just one life or avoid injuries that could last a lifetime, I will consider this program a success in Maryville.”