Non-profit trying to end fatal teenage crashes

Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT
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(WDBJ) - Arriving alive every time they drive is the motto for Teen Driving Solutions school.

“Just been kinda exposed to this for many many years and I finally decided it’s time someone does something about it,” said founder Daniel Wagner.

Wagner lost a friend when he was 14 years old. Now, he’s trying to prevent teenagers from dying in crashes. The Insurance Information Institute reported young drivers were 5.1 percent of drivers, but accounted for 8.5 percent of fatal crashes in 2020.

“We are here to end the epidemic of automobile driving for teens being the leading cause for death,” explained Wagner.

The two-day program includes training in the classroom and on the track for parents and their children.

“For every parent, I think you want your children to come home safe,” said Charlotte Parent Chris Eddings.

22 families from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee attended the training hosted at the Virginia International Raceway. 16-year-old Mae Jacobs is from Lynchburg. She says the crash avoidance classes made her more confident to hit the road.

“How to fix oversteer and understeer. That was honestly something I was a little worried about but now I know how to handle it,” said Jacobs.

The school found 98 percent of their graduates drive incident-free for 4 years after completing the program.

“We get them to think differently about the entire qualification and requirement,” added Wagner. “And we give them all the skills to control that vehicle safely in whatever condition they find themselves.”

The next driving school is in October.