On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, Collinsville High School sophomores had the opportunity to attend an all-day safe driving event at the Gateway Center in Collinsville.
More than 400 CHS students participated in the first Metro East Teen Driver Safety Days presented by the CMC (Collinsville Maryville Caseyville) Rotary Foundation.
The CMC Rotary took the lead in pulling together local sponsors and partners to bring this event to the Collinsville community. CHS students attended on Tuesday and other metro east schools sent students on Wednesday. CMS Rotary hopes this will become an annual offering.
Metro East Teen Driver Safety Day is designed to supplement and reinforce classroom and behind the wheel instruction for Driver’s Education students. The event used presentations and participation to deliver important safe-driving information to the students.
The students – divided into smaller groups – spent the entire day rotating through classroom-style presentations and hands-on exhibits. Lunch was provided for the student participants, chaperones and exhibitors.
Students participated in these safe-driving presentations and activities:
- “It’s Just Not Worth It: Drinking and Driving” was the keynote address by Sarah Panzau. Ms. Panzau was an award winning volleyball player from Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) when she”made an irrevocable decision to get into her car and drive home following a night of partying with friends” in 2003. A resulting crash left her clinging to life with her left arm severed and a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. She spoke about the hazards of underage drinking and how she is using her second chance at life to educate young people about the risks of making bad decisions.
- Street Smart: This presentation is presented by S.A.F.E. (Stay Alive From Education), a group of firefighter/paramedics from Miami-Dade County, Florida. They teach the hazards of alcohol and drugs, impaired and distracted driving, excessive speed and the importance of seat belt use.
- Work Zone Safety: Illinois Department of Transportation covered the hazards and risks of driving through road construction and work zones.
- Motorcycle Awareness: The Illinois State Police Motorcycle Enforcement Bureau presented information from a motorcyclist’s perspective on what drivers should be aware of while driving near motorcycles.
- No Zone Semi Display: This is a 40-minute session on the hazards of vehicle blind spots with active participation of the students. Students have the opportunity to sit in driver’s seats of semi-trucks and passenger cars that have cars and motorcycles parked in the blind spots.
- Seat Belt Convincer & Roll-Over Simulator: This presentation by the Illinois State Police and Collinsville Police Department demonstrated the importance of seat belts to the students.
- Driving Simulation: The Collinsville Police Department and Illinois State Police demonstrated the dangers of impaired and distracted driving through a series of virtual reality simulations and hands-on activities.
Sponsors included: State Farm, Country Financial, Jodi White State Farm, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, FCB Banks, TheBank of Edwardsville, Grey Eagle Distributing, Collinsville Chamber of Commerce, Pekin Insurance, Laura Buick, Henderson Trucking, Glass America, Dave Slimack State Farm, Tom Binger State Farm, Dave Threlkeld State Farm, Tom Chourinard State Farm, Dave Raetz State Farm, Kate Elder State Farm, Otto Daech State Farm, Charles Williams State Farm, Safelite, Schaeffer Auto Body, General Machine, Ron Jedda, Hopper Caravan Insurance, and Susan Vahle.
According to Illinois Department of Transportation statistics, other communities that have held similar events have seen a decline in crashes among 16-year-old drivers and a change in teen attitudes toward several significant traffic safety issues — contributing to the Teen Driver Safety Day’s goal of “Building Better Drivers.”