|‘Drive with a Cop’ puts teens behind the wheel posted on 11/01/2019|
The Portland International Raceway was filled with the
sounds of revving engines and squealing brakes on the sunny Saturday morning of
Instead of sportscars racing neck-in-neck around the track,
teen drivers from Clackamas County, accompanied by county deputies trained as
driving instructors, navigated a driving course designed to show real-world
dangers encountered behind the wheel.
The raceway, located at 1940 North Victory Blvd. in
Portland, played host to the fifth annual Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
(CCSO) “Drive with a Cop” program. 70 teen drivers and 34 parents participated
in the event, designed to teach safe driving techniques and educate young
drivers about the dangers of speed, impaired and distracted driving.
“A lot of life-saving (driving) skills are not being
instructed,” Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said. “We’re here to help
save lives on the road.”
The sheriff cited motor vehicle crashes as the number one
cause of teen deaths nationwide.
Roberts added that young drivers in the Mount Hood
communities face additional dangers from winter weather, including safely
putting on chains along the highway and also from encountering wildlife while
driving in rural areas.
“If a deer runs right in front of the car (the driver) might
just have to hit it to avoid attempting a radical correction,” Roberts said.
“The (young drivers) have to be able to make that decision.”
This year’s program included hands-on driving training, a
crash reconstruction presentation and an opportunity to wear “impaired goggles”
that simulated driving under the influence of intoxicants. Young drivers also
had the opportunity to hear the stories of guest speakers impacted by the loss
of family members in teen driving crashes.
Leading causes of teen accidents include distracted driving
and following too closely. The driving training course allowed the
inexperienced drivers to conduct a full emergency stop under the supervision of
the deputies to experience the time and distance necessary to avoid a
Roberts stated that the teen drivers’ time with the deputies
was not only a chance to build safe driving skills but also an opportunity to
form a positive relationship with the law enforcement officers.
During the event, Les Schwab gave a demonstration of safe
techniques for changing a tire and putting on chains while on the roadside.
Representatives from the company instructed young drivers of safe vehicle
maintenance practices, such as maintaining adequate tire tread, tire pressure
and proper alignment to prevent tire failure or other related accidents.
The “Drive with a Cop” program was sponsored by the Oregon
Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon
Impact, Les Schwab and Swift Transportation. For more information about the
program contact Clackamas County sheriff's office Event Coordinator Kim Lippert
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 971-413-1762.
By Ben Simpson/MT