Community class addresses safe driving |

Community class addresses safe driving

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Gordon talks about distracted driving to a driver's education class Friday at the community center.
Brad Coman |

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Speaking to young drivers about the importance of automobile safety is more than just a job to Zero Teen Fatalities Program Manager Kevin Moore.

A passion? Yes.

“Twenty-five years in law enforcement as a state trooper,” Moore told a class of teen-age students on Thursday during a spring break class at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center. “I believe in our teens because they are our future and it’s important to talk to them now, when they’re brand new learning how to drive.”

Zero Teen Fatalities is a grant-funded program for the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s office of traffic safety.

“We talk to teens between 15 and 20 years of age about the consequences of poor driving and their actions out there on the road,” Moore said. “We travel to all schools and drivers ed classes that we can get into and anybody who wants to invite us to their group, we will come and speak to them as well.”

Twenty-eight students received 30 hours of instruction Tuesday through Friday during the spring break class presented by Mr. Chuck’s Driving Academy and sponsored by the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department. Moore said this is the third year he has addressed students as part of the Douglas program.

In 2017, more than 37,000 people died in car crashes, he informed the students.

“In America, every 15 minutes, somebody dies in a car crash,” Moore said. “I’ll be with you for a little bit more than an hour, that means four families, while I’m standing up here, will get a phone call telling them that somebody in their family has died from a car crash, whether it was their fault or not their fault.”

This week’s weather pattern with snow and ice on roadways has illustrated that driving in Northern Nevada can mean driving under less than favorable conditions.

“Especially here in Douglas County, they’re going xto need to learn how to drive in those conditions because some day they’re going to be by themselves and know how to get home safely,” Moore said.

“Ninety-four percent of all car crashes are preventable. It’s not because the roads were snowy or icy. It’s because the driver made a bad decision.”

On Friday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Gordon said driver’s education is an ongoing process.

“There is always room for improvement,” said Gordon, 47, a Carson Valley resident who serves as NHP’s Public Information Officer. “I’ve been in this business over 20 years … I go to training every single year … and I still I improve every single day as a driver.’”

Gordon noted the importance of drivers being able to think ahead as preparation for various situations that may arise on the road. And he discussed a list of eight primary rules for all drivers:

■ Seatbelts

■ Pay attention/distracted driving

■ Signals for lane changes and turns

■ Speed limits

■ Following too close

■ Driving when drowsy

■ Impaired driving

■ Travel lanes

The importance of safety belts was emphasized by Moore when he showed a video that showed five bodies flying out of an SUV as it rolled over four complete times.

“SUVs are really heavy vehicles,” Moore said. “This SUV, as heavy as it is, takes four hits on that roof. Does it flatten out? No. It does its job. It’s pretty impressive, actually. All the windows are blown out, that’s fine, but the roof is OK. You have to think of your vehicles as safety capsules. If you stay inside your safety capsule, it can protect you.”