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Seymour Police Programs Makes Teens Safer Behind The Wheel
Updated October 27, 2016 8:35 AM
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(SEYMOUR) - A teenager winding up in a police cruiser generally is not viewed as a good thing by many.

A group of local teens recently had the chance to learn a little bit about safe driving while behind the wheel of one of Seymour's police cruisers.

According to Seymour Police Capt. Carl Lamb the department's Rule the Road driving program is in its third year and has shown impressive results. Each year, 55 students are selected from the list of applicants given to the police department by Seymour High School. The program is funded through a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The Seymour Tribune reports, city officers investigated 220 accidents involving young drivers between 15 and 18 in 2013. That number has declined declined since then. After 2014, there were 148 accidents involving that age group, and in 2015, that number fell to 99, according to the police records. That is a 33 percent decrease after the first years and 55 percent last year.

The program at Freeman Municipal Airport on the city's southwest side is divided into stations where students can learn about different aspects of driving.

The drifting station, for instance, teaches students how to better control a vehicle that is sliding on ice, snow or water. It also uses a special device that lifts the back wheel of the car simulating drifting or sliding sideways, similar to hydroplaning.

Another station used a semitrailer and a harvester to teach students about driving near farm equipment.

There is also a station that teaches teens about the effects of drunken driving. This station required the teens to drive an all-terrain vehicle through obstacles while wearing goggles that simulate drinking.

Other stations included one that requires the driver to make split-second decisions at high speeds to see how the vehicles behave, driving an obstacle course and learning about over-correcting when a tire leaves the road. Indoors, there was a simulator that allowed operators to change factors, such as weather, visibility and alcohol levels, in order to simulate how reaction times can be delayed.

Most activities involved students riding in the cruisers with officers, all of whom have been trained in driving in extreme situations.

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