Teens on the go: young drivers causing concerns in Hartselle

HARTSELLE, Ala. - With classes starting in just a few weeks, more teens will be on the roads during peak travel times. Hartselle High School offers a driver's education course for students.

The instructor, Tim Miller, said the courses are dying off in the state. But the importance of driver's safety remains at an all-time high.

"Our goal is to put them in situations or talk about situations while their driving, or that may occur while they're driving so they'll stay out of accidents," said Miller.

He instructs nearly 200 students each year.

"We talk about defensive driving over a period of time, we talk about automobile maintenance. We talk about the importance of insurance," explained Miller.

Classes will soon resume and Hartselle residents want teens to remember to be responsible drivers.

Miller said he recognizes only so much driver's education can be taught in the classroom. The majority of the learning comes from hands-on experience.

He said students make mistakes but they have to make those mistakes to learn from them.

"All of us have to remember that we were inexperienced drivers at one time. Young drivers," Miller added. "They're not going to know everything that they need to know when they first get their driver's license."

Nationally, 16-year-olds have higher crash rates of any other age.

Miller said he teaches students what to do in case of a wreck. "You've got to stop. Call someone, call the police, get a report filled out."

But crashes shouldn't discourage driver's completely, just remind new drivers of the great responsibility that comes with operating a vehicle.

"It's a major part of your life. Driving is something you're going to do pretty much every day for the rest of your life."

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