Mandi Childers of the Coolidge Arizona Police Department was selected as the School Resource Officer of the Year at the Arizona School Resource Officers Association 2019 Annual Conference. She attended the Impact Teen Drivers What Do You Consider Lethal? Train the Trainer in Tucson in January 2018 sponsored by the Arizona State Troopers Association and Impact Teen Drivers.
Congratulations Mandi! Thanks for making a difference.
Here are a few snap shots.
Arizona School Resource Officers Annual Conference
April was Distracted Driving Awareness month. As we begin the month of May, we enter the 100 deadliest days for young drivers. With the school year winding down, teens find themselves celebrating all the end of the year events such as graduation, prom, and having the ability to stay out later. Combining the inexperience of newer drivers, with the increased risk of young drivers being out more often, contributes to this deadly combination.
Young drivers often feel invincible and allow themselves to be placed in risky situations. This with their inexperience can lead to erratic behaviors, lack of confidence, or overcorrecting. The past few months, members of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Walmart, Banner Health, Look Save A Life, the Pima County Health Department, Impact Teen Drivers, and AZTroopers (the Arizona State Troopers Association) have been combining their resources to make an impact of teens in Southern Arizona.
The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit at DPS has teamed up with Walmart to bring a Tractor Trailer to schools so students can get in the cab and see all the blind spots around the Semi. This allows young drivers to be more aware of their position when traveling in and around semis on the interstate. Young drivers assume the semi drivers can see and fail to recognize most of the time, the driver can’t see them with the mirrors that are required by law. Students gain a new awareness when driving near the larger vehicles. Troopers from the Highway Patrol Division, have spent time educating students on the restrictions of driver’s licenses, and what to expect from a traffic stop. Local resources available like the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation START program allows young drivers to get hands on experience from Law Enforcement Driving Instructors in the Tucson area.
The Pima County Health Department and Banner Health have been instrumental in providing information related to injury prevention, seatbelt usage, properly installing car seats, and the overall health of young drivers. The health department has a number of programs and studies happening in local schools. Since Distracted Driving is the number one reason of death in young people, and it is preventable schools are often eager to allow us the opportunity to share either through their health classes or through their public safety education classes. Local on-profit groups like LOOK SAVE A LIFE allows victims of distracted driving to share their story and the steps they’ve had to take to recover from their injuries after being struck by a car with a distracted driver while riding their bicycle.
Attached are pictures from recent events in the Tucson area where collaboration efforts have provided engaging education opportunities to empower young people to make good decisions every time they get in a vehicle. Although May through the first part of August is usually the most deadly for young drivers, we want to encourage our teens to make good decisions every time they get in a car either as a driver or passenger. Make a commitment today to drive without distractions. Visit aztroopers.org/impact-teen-drivers and take the pledge to be safe every time you’re in a vehicle. More information can be found at whatslethal.com.
1876 people attended the 2019 conference that ran from March 31 – April 2. Retired Sergeant McNichols was part of the last days panel on Prevention and Diversion to Improve Teen Driver Safety. He spoke in a break out session on building a successful grassroots effort within your community regarding Distracted Driving Awareness.
With Utah State Troopers Taylor and Charity Griffith. The photo of myself and the Griffiths was taken at Griff’s. Darrell Griffith played basketball at the University of Louisville and in the NBA for the Utah Jazz. He was often referred to as Dr. Dunkenstein
Dinner Feast at Churchill Downs
In Louisville suburb Jeffersontown Skyview Park about 13 miles from Downtown Louisville, this memorial bench was dedicated to fallen DPS Trooper Tyler Edenhofer #10449.
Here’s a photo posted by the Kentucky State Police from that ceremony.
Every year more than 4000 teens are killed in traffic collisions. About 60% of these deaths involve a passenger and nearly half result from someone not using their seatbelt. More than 400,000 are injured. This is the #1 cause of death among teens. If you could stop these deaths from happening would you?
For the past 30 plus years, we have been teaching students to buckle up as soon as they get in a vehicle. Today, you can ask toddlers through senior citizens what’s the first thing to do when they get in the car. They will almost all say “Buckle Up.” Everyone knows driving distracted is stupid and wrong but we haven’t begun practicing putting away distractions as soon as we get in a vehicle. We can prevent nearly 4000 teen deaths a year if we buckle up and put away distractions.
So what is driving distracted? It is anything that takes our eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel, and/or mind off driving. Some of the ways I have observed people driving distracted include: using their cell phone to talk, text or using other functions available, putting on makeup, shaving, eating, drinking, reading a newspaper or tablet, watching videos, reaching for objects, turning to talk to passengers, using a laptop, and even changing their clothes. Some people think using a hands free device is not a distraction but it is because it takes your mind off the road and your surroundings.
In Arizona, a teen under the age of 18 must get an Instructional Permit for at least 6 months before they get their license. They can get their permit at 15 years and 6 months of age. During this permit time, they have to have a licensed driver over 21 with tbem. They need to have a total of 30 supervised driving hours before they can get their license (at age 16). Once the driver completes their permit phase, they can take their driving test for the class G license. The first 6 months of this license has restrictions: only one child that is not a sibling can be in the vehicle, students cannot be out between 12 AM and 5 AM unless driving from a school function, church, or work, drivers cannot use a hands free device during the first six months having a Class G license unless it is an emergency. These restrictions are in place so the new drivers can give their complete attention to driving. Although the restrictions eventually are lifted, the risk associated with driving do not decrease, therefore we need to encourage all drivers to put away ALL their distractions. Visit Azdot.gov for more information.
We can’t prevent cancer, diseases or illnesses from taking a young person; nor can we prevent acts of God such as weather related deaths; nor can we prevent wild animal attacks (shark, mountain lions,etc), But we CAN PREVENT the #1 killer of our teens DISTRACTED DRIVING.
Visit Createrealimpact.com for scholarship opportunities for students 14 – 22. This scholarship is available twice a year.
You can learn more about Distracted Driving Awareness by visiting:
The Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation (Previously the Tucson Police Foundation) START program is available in Tucson for new drivers. Visit their website for more information. State Farm Insurance offers a new driver program called Steer Clear.
Thus information was provided by Kevin McNichols. Mr. McNichols is an instructor for Impact Teen Drivers. He retired ad a Sergeant from the Arizona Department of Public Safety in 2018. Prior to working with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, he was a Deputy and School Resource Officer with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and a Recreation Coordinator with the City of Kingman.