Santa Maria Police, CHP Offer Traffic Safety Workshop For Teens

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SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Cooper Lock and his two friends spent their Thursday afternoon at the Santa Maria Library participating in a safe driving workshop.

“A lot of these wake-up calls are important,” Cooper said. “It shows you how you can actually be safe and pay attention.”

The workshop offered strategies to teens on how they can be more safe on the roads by highlighting facts and myths of laws pertaining to teen drivers.

Henry Switala said the stories shown in a video presentation of teens in California who had been in fatal accidents made him think, “Wow, this happened here. This can happen to me.”

Driver safety experts said teen drivers are at the highest risk of being involved in traffic collisions.

Kelly Browning, executive director of Impact Teen Drivers, a nonprofit organization that helped put on the workshop, told KCOY/KEYT's Cory James that distracted driving is the No. 1 reason behind teen crashes.

Browning said that in addition to teens practicing safe driving skills, parents need to be better role models because “kids have been sitting back watching everything (they) do” in the car for years.

Sgt. Mark Streker of the Santa Maria Police Department said the traffic bureau and the California Highway Patrol sponsored the event to educate and empower young drivers.

“We want kids to know they can make their own choices,” Streker said. “It may not be a popular choice, but we want our teens to know you can make the choice to say no, (to) say stop (and to) say let me get out.”

Cory James, coryjames@kcoy.com