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Fun way to learn drivers safety

CDOT "Think Fast" event engages high school students.

Amagine Montoya, Pirateer Staff

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TEC Campus, Englewood, Co.-“I thought the assembly was a good reminder to people who drive to stay safe,” Jordan Barnes (10) said. How fast can you answer questions about safe driving skills? Students at Englewood High school put their skills to the test during an interactive all-school assembly put on by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The students took part in “Think Fast”,  an experiential team building, and awareness program that, according to the CDOT website,  utilizes multi-digit audience response System (ARS) technology wireless remote controls. Students who took part in the assembly were moved into teams and one member of each team got a remote to answer questions which pooped up on screens in the front of the auditorium.  The hope is that the message of prevention, responsibility, and awareness are non-intrusively reinforced.

Students answered questions about driving laws, their skills behind the wheel and how to interact with other drivers. It has been designed to give students a fun experience with their friends and think about their actions in a car. Students were active and engaged in the lesson during the entire one-hour event, “It was pretty cool seeing our school participate in safe driving. The set up made me pay attention more,” Val Gabalera (11) said.

“Think Fast” is part of the “The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP21) that reauthorizes federal transportation dollars.  The “Think Fast” website says for the first time ever (MAP21) allows states to dedicate fiscal resources to teen driver safety. The site, http://www.thinkfastinteractive.com/ says, “Driving behavior is very complex, but is most often understood as a function of teen-centered factors including their driving knowledge, attitude towards risky driving, the perception of risk for being involved in a crash, and the norms of their peers and parents. The ThinkFast Interactive program content and evaluation survey items are tailored to fit the local conditions of each state where it is implemented and to collect viable information to meet the data demands of MAP21 that can be used with other state Highway Safety Office data in order to establish a connection between changes in knowledge and behavior intentions that may occur after ThinkFast Interactive participation and an overall area’s teen crash rate.”

In addition, research has found that since 2006, several statewide Highway Safety offices have contracted ThinkFast Interactive services and has repeatedly documented the effectiveness of ThinkFast Interactive at increasing highway safety knowledge among both middle and high school students, “Teens in statewide samples have consistently increased their knowledge scores by twenty to thirty points after the program in Alaska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. Comparisons from pre to post also reveal significant improvements in teen attitudes towards wearing their seat belts, not talking/texting on the cell phone while driving, not speeding, and a range of other risky driving behaviors.” Students say they got a lot out of the program, “It was so informative. Now I think more about putting my seatbelt on,” Teegan Lucas (10) said.

The CDOT site finds teens also show significant increases in their intentions to intervene as a passenger to promote safety if whoever is driving them is taking unnecessary risks. More information about the program can be found on the CDOT link here http://www.thinkfastinteractive.com/ 

The Colorado Department of Transportation meets with students in a fun and engaging way so they understand safe driving rules.

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