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Transportation Department Teams With AAA To Promote New Teen Driver Program

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  AAA

Transportation Department Teams With AAA To Promote New Teen Driver Program

U.S. Department of Transportation
June 4, 1998

Thursday, June 4, 1998
Contact: William Vincent/Patricia Klinger
Tel: 202-366-4831
RSPA 12-98

McLEAN, Va.--U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater and the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety President David Willis today met with Langley High School students to demonstrate a new computer program called "A Crash Course in Crash Prevention" and provide teen drivers with hands-on, real-world driving experiences.

"Safety is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority," Secretary Slater said. "Teaching teens to become better drivers makes our nation’s roads safer and helps protect young people from getting injured in car crashes."

According to the department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young drivers have a higher crash rate than most other drivers. The department and AAA expect to reduce the rate by providing young drivers the new computer risk management training program.

The new software is available on CD-ROM and is designed for use on IBM-compatible computers with advanced video capabilities. It will allow the users to make their own choices and then experience the results of their actions. Studies have shown that learning by doing yields greater understanding than routine memorization.

In addition to exposing users to a wide range of potential driving situations, the interactive driving scenarios contain "clues" indicating that an accident may be imminent. Following the user’s chosen actions, peer feedback, which is given by one of four teen "hosts" featured in the program, helps the simulated driver-users by providing them a better understanding of their decisions.

The program presents more crash risks scenarios, and thus more important learning opportunities, than most drivers will experience during years behind the wheel. Even a few costly real-world crashes prevented because of experience from this computer program will more than pay for the $600,000 project cost.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable research and educational organization dedicated to reducing the toll of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. It is funded by voluntary contributions from the AmericanAutomobile Association, the Canadian Automobile Association and their affiliated motorclubs which include individual AAA members, AAA-affiliated insurance companies and other individuals and organizations.

The CD-ROM is available from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, P.O. Box 8257, Fredericksburg, Va., 22404, Telephone 1-800-305-SAFE.


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