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State announces summer driver education camp for teens

Staff Reports • Updated Apr 14, 2018 at 11:00 AM

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced its first Teen Driver Education Camp for high school students across the state. 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will play host to the camp from July 16-20 at the department’s training center in Nashville. 

To attend the camp, interested teens must register online at reducetncrashes.org by May 1. There are no costs to participate, however, the program does not provide overnight lodging. Space is limited, and registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Parents are encouraged to assist teens with completing registration as soon as possible. The camp agenda will be emailed to attendees once registration has closed. 

“We are thrilled to offer driver safety education for teens,” said communications director Megan Buell. “As the mother of a teen driver, I understand the challenges parents face in preparing their children to become responsible drivers. The purpose of this camp is to provide free resources and credible information straight from subject matter experts in the field of traffic safety.” 

The Teen Driver Education Camp is intended for drivers 15-17 years old. Participants are required to complete two days of educational training comprised of the “AAA How to Drive” curriculum, mock crash demonstration, traffic safety presentations, driving simulators, group activities, indoor-outdoor events and more.

The first group of campers will attend July 16-17 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.; the second group will attend July 18-19 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. 

On July 20, all participants will attend graduation and receive a certificate of completion of the camp. Parents are encouraged to attend the graduation festivities, as well.

Additionally, AT&T “It Can Wait” will provide former Lambuth University football player Fletcher Cleaves to serve as a guest speaker during the camp. In 2009, Cleaves was involved in a tragic car crash caused by a distracted driver suspected of texting while driving. The incident left him paralyzed from the chest down, and he is now quadriplegic. 

Crash survivor Brittany Leedham will also speak during the camp to share the intimate details of the 2008 crash that not only left her with substantial injuries, but also resulted in the death of her 19-year-old boyfriend, Zak. The crash happened when Zak lost control while speeding to pass another vehicle on Holt Road in Brentwood. His vehicle wrapped around a tree, which caused Leedham to undergo 22 surgeries.

The program is supported by AAA, AT&T “It Can Wait,” Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Nissan of Cool Springs, Operation Life Saver, Putnam County Emergency Medical Services, Smart Start, SplitSecnd, State Farm Insurance, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Tennessee Highway Safety Office, Tennessee Technological University, Tennessee Trucking Foundation, Kyle W. Kiihnl Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, WKRN News Channel 2, ThinkFast Interactive, ReduceTNcrashes and other public safety partners in Tennessee.

Schools that participate in ReduceTNCrashes in Wilson County include, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, Mt. Juliet High School, Watertown High School and Wilson Central High School.

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