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Stay 'Alive at 25,' VC offers safe driver's awareness course in Calhoun County

By Victoria Advocate
Oct. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.

Sherre Clegg

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: "Alive at 25"

• WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday

• WHERE: The Victoria College Calhoun County Center

• HOW: Call the VC Calhoun County Center at 361-553-4316. To register, visit TexasAliveTeam.org. For the free class, select the option that says "I will send payment by check/I am requesting a scholarship."

Victoria College and the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office, in partnership with Deputy Kevin Cotton of the Texas Alive Team, are offering a pilot of the "Alive at 25" program at the college's Calhoun County Center.

"Alive at 25" is a driver's awareness course designed by the National Safety Council for young drivers ages 15 to 24.

The first year for a newly licensed teenage driver is the most dangerous, with more than one in five involved in crashes.

Results show that program graduates experienced a more than 72 percent decrease in crash fatalities.

"Young drivers face different challenges on the road," said Deputy Cotton, of the Travis County Sheriff's Office. "This program is about teaching them how to make their own decisions when it comes to driving safely."

Course content includes defensive driving techniques that will help young drivers gain awareness and develop strategies to keep safe on the road.

Decision-making and responsibility-taking are also emphasized through interactive media, workbook exercises, role-playing and class discussions.

"We encourage these kids to be honest about what distracts them while driving and talk about how to make decisions that will keep them safe," Cotton said.

Sandra Witte, a member of the college's Calhoun County Center Advisory Committee, heard of the "Alive at 25" program and helped bring this pilot program to Calhoun County.

"As the mother of a teenage daughter who is driving, I am among a number of local parents who are very excited about this program to help keep our kids safe on the roads," Witte said.

Witte has also spoken with Justice of the Peace Hope Kurtz, Precinct 1, and Justice of the Peace James W. Duckett, Precinct 2, and both have agreed to direct juvenile offenders to the program.

"If the pilot on Oct. 20 gets a minimum of 10 participants, we can look into getting local officers trained to administer this program on a regular basis," said manager of the VC Calhoun County Center, Sherre Clegg.

According to Deputy Cotton, the "Alive at 25" program now counts as double community service hours and will qualify participants for discounts on parking permits and auto insurance.

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