Fifteen Payson High School students recently received hands-on driving lessons from professional racecar drivers at a Chandler event.
Driver’s Edge is a nonprofit which seeks to teach teen drivers how to avoid accidents in a free, four-hour class.
“Motor vehicle collisions kill more teens every year than drugs, guns and violent crimes combined, yet conventional driver’s education in America continues to teach young drivers only the most basic of driving skills and then sends them out on the roads,” said Jeff Payne, founder of Driver’s Edge.
Teens aged 16 to 20 are not only three times more likely to crash than drivers over 21, they’re also two times more likely to die, according to the organization.
In Driver’s Edge, students learn skid recovery, accident avoidance and emergency lane change maneuvers, among other things, from racecar drivers whose resumes include NASCAR, IndyCars, Sports Car and Off Road Racing.
“The theory is that the same skills used on a racetrack to get a car to its limits are the same skills used on the road to avoid an accident,” wrote local resident Tim Moser in an e-mail.
Officers from the Chandler Police Department and Arizona Department of Public Safety also worked with students.
The national touring event has trained almost 60,000 drivers aged 15 to 21 in its seven-year history.
The high school’s award-winning teen safety driving program Project Ignition, athletic department secretary Stephanie Shields and local residents Tim and Jo Moser organized Payson students’ involvement in the Chandler event.
Local resident Eileen Daniels helped with registration.