Students get a crash course in safe driving at "Drive for Tomorrow"

Students get a crash course in safe driving at "Drive for Tomorrow"

Two Illinois public service agencies hosted a seminar for teen drivers in Quincy this week.

Many students came to this event, but one Quincy student volunteered to help her fellow students learn.

Anna McNay wants as many teenagers as possible to know the dangers of unsafe driving.

"It's very important to keep kids safe and raise awareness, because people don't know about the effects of texting and drinking," McNay said.

When McNay found out IDOT and the Illinois State Police offered an event to teach teens how to become safer drivers, she got involved.

"The Drive for Tomorrow program, It was first started in Williamson County in Marion, Illinois. And it's a program, it's a teen safe driving program where we bring, instead of them getting bits and pieces of programs like no zone here, defensive driving, distracted driving, convincers," Drive for Tomorrow Coordinator Cindy Houlihan said. "We bring them all to one place and we give them one whole day of teen safe driving."

Each group of students gets to participate in a series of accident simulators.

"We have defensive driving and distracted driving. We have a presentation. We have simulators, we have a regular simulator," Houlihan said. "We have fatal vision goggles when they're driving around with golf carts. We have seat belt convincers that simulate a crash going five to seven miles an hour."

One of the activities student get to participate in is the Virtual Reality Driving Simulator.

It shows students what it would be like to operate a motor vehicle while they're distracted by their cell phones or impaired.

The goal is to educate students how quickly an accident can happen when they're not fully focused on the road or in the right state of mind.

Out of all the activities offered, McNay believes one presentation left the biggest impression.

"Probably the most important station that I think is impacting the most is, showing students, people who have died in accidents that are due to texting or drinking," McNay said. "And students that are, our age, and I'd say that's really important to note, because student will let kids leave a party and not take their keys and that needs to be stopped."

McNay is grateful for this program and hopes every student that attends this event follows every bit of advice they're given.

"It's really important to see the effects of what they learn and how they can apply it when they go and leave from here," McNay said.

Drive for Tomorrow will continue Friday at the Oakley-Lindsey Center in Quincy.

Almost 2,000 students are expected to attend the four day event.