Foundation's goal is safer teen drivers
by Mark Andrews
Oct 21, 2012 | 2126 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville High School sophomore Zachary Edmonds works through a simulated drivers’ education lesson. MARK ANDREWS/The Daily Tribune News
Cartersville High School sophomore Zachary Edmonds works through a simulated drivers’ education lesson. MARK ANDREWS/The Daily Tribune News
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Oct. 14 to 20 was National Teen Driver Safety Week and in honor of the week, State Farm Insurance Agent C.L. Smith made a $2,500 donation to the Joshua Brown Foundation. While Bartow County schools have cancelled their in-school drivers’ education program, the system donated seven simulators to Cartersville City schools and Joshua’s Law itself requires 5 percent of each traffic ticket issued in the state go toward advancing and maintaining drivers’ education in schools.

“[Safe driving] has everything to do with [a student’s] education. It’s about what you’ve been taught to do and what you’ve been taught not to do,” Alan Brown said Friday at Cartersville High School.

On July 1, 2003, Alan’s son Joshua Brown was driving a two-lane highway in the rain when his truck hit a puddle of water, hydroplaned, and crashed into a tree. Severely injured, he fought to stay alive for six days, but passed away on July 9.He attended CHS.

“It’s a semester class, we have modulators, PowerPoints and we have a curriculum also combined with the simulation,” drivers’ education instructor Dennis Godfrey said of the school’s program. “By being a semester class, they’ll get twice the amount of time on the simulators versus a typical 30-hour classroom with six hours of driving.”

The Logitech simulators, the same brand of simulators used by the U.S. military, consist of three computer monitors as well as a steering wheel, pedal, brake and emergency brake. Students working through the simulation software must respond to commands such as looking to the left or right or in the rearview mirror at a stop.

“[The simulator] talks to them, it gives them directions,” Godfrey said. “It brainwashes them really good, especially looking left or looking right, because you know that’s how you get killed is pulling out in front of someone.

“It really educates and prepares them for the rules of the road and the situations that could occur on the road and they get to see and participate in [those situations] through the simulation.”

For sophomore Zachary Edmonds, the simulators are not too different from playing modern video games except instead of gaining experience points, students get graded on their performance.

“You get instructions throughout [the simulation] and it tells you how to be safer,” Edmonds said.

Classmate Kanon Breedlove explained a typical day in the class at the point of being able to use the simulators.

“You come in and you learn who is going to be on the simulators that day and what lessons to do, then you get your lessons done, you tell [Godfrey] your grade and he tells you to either move onto the next one or he puts someone else on [the simulator] so they can get experience,” Breedlove said.

Both students agreed the lesson teaching how to drive on the shoulder of the road has been the most difficult simulation they have encountered thus far.

For more information on the Joshua Brown Foundation, visit www.joshuabrownfoundation.org and for more information on drivers’ education and teen driving, visit www.teendriversource.org.