Driver's Edge Gears Up for 10th Course in Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Driver's Edge Gears Up for 10th Course in Reno

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Driver's Edge is kicking off their 10th training course in Reno. It helps teach Northern Nevada teens to learn life-saving skills on the road. Nevada Highways Patrol says it's a great opportunity for new drivers to practice different driving scenarios before hitting the streets, and it's free!

We spoke with Morgan Gibson,16, who is one of the new drivers in town. She says she’s looking forward to completing the class this week with a friend. “It's a cool program because it helps me, like gives me a good opportunity to become a better driver," she told us.

Morgan is just one of more than 1,200 students on the West Coast who will be going through the Driver's Edge program in Reno this year. Jeff Payne is the founder and one of the instructors for Driver's Edge. He started the non-profit to help bring down the number of accidents involving teens. “Most people don't realize that car crashes are the number one killer of America's youth, but the number one killer of Nevada's youth as well,” said Payne.

There's a lot that goes into teaching the life-saving skills course. “They get that wake-up call to how serious driving is,” Payne said.

“We actually put them through a skid exercise where they get to experience what really happens when a vehicle loses traction and goes into a skid. We put them through an evasive lane change maneuver - you know, what do you do if that child chases a ball into the street or if that obstacle is in front of you on the highway,” said Payne.

The instructors, who are former NASCAR and Indy drivers, also go over the dangers of texting and driving with students. Parents say it's a great way to prepare their kids before they start driving on the roadways year-round. “This kind of gives them maybe a little bit of an upper hand to understand how to control a vehicle if it’s skidding,” said NHP Officer and parent David Gibson.

This program also takes away a hefty financial burden for families. “The value of the class would be about $450 a head,” said Payne.

The program costs around $125,000 to run in Reno, but is completely funded through the Office of Traffic and Safety. “That's what we're trying to do is reach them on their level and give them these experiences so they are better prepared on the highway. Driver's Edge has helped more than 10,000 students and parents locally and over 100,000 students nationwide.

It's available to students 15 to 21 years-old with a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license.

The courses start Thursday and go through Sunday. For information on how to sign up, CLICK HERE and mention KTVN Channel 2 News when you sign up to get into the course quicker.

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