Jan. 24, 2023
Student drivers attend safety program
Nearly 300 Upper St. Clair High School student drivers attended a Ford Driving Skills for Life assembly on Jan. 24, 2023, in the school’s theater. All students with a campus parking pass were required to attend the 50-minute program.
The assembly focused on five main topics: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, speed management and driving under the influence. Speakers included representatives from the Ford Motor Company, the Pennsylvania State Police, Allegheny County Pre-Trial Services as well as a mom who lost her son to distracted driving.
“This program is a good fit for our population as we have a large majority of our senior class, as well as some juniors, that drive to/from school on a consistent basis,” Dr. Dan Beck, assistant principal, said. “We want our campus to be a safe one, and in partnership with the practices put in place by our school police, we believe the continual evolution of student parking on campus is one that is responsive to family needs. This program gives us another touch-point for students and families that could help shape the decision-making of our students when at school – or when in our community.”
Locally, the Driving Skills for Life program is sponsored by the Neighborhood Ford Store, Allegheny County Pretrial Services, Pennsylvania State Police, the Governor’s Highway Safety and KDKA-TV.
Last spring, students in the USCHS Natural Helpers group talked with officials from KDKA and Ford Driving Skills for Life about driver/passenger safety. The segment aired on Pittsburgh Today Live in early June – just before the school’s prom and graduation events.
The Ford Motor Company Fund established the Driving Skills for Life program in 2003 in response to the fact that more than 7,000 teenage drivers lose their lives every year in car crashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
“USCHS is committed to proactive programming that keeps our campus safe,” Dr. Beck said. “Given that CDC has provided data that indicates motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of death to teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths, we need to be responsive and proactive while supporting parents as they help their children with safe driving experiences.”
Two years ago, Upper St. Clair High School implemented a driver safety program as part of the student parking permit process. In order to be eligible for a parking permit, students must attend the Share the Keys safe driving orientation.
Share the Keys is a research-based, data-driven program that focuses on understanding the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws; supporting the GDL at home; being a good role model; increasing practice driving hours; and controlling the keys.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.”
According to the Share the Keys website, “research conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Injury Research and Prevention examined the impact parenting styles had on teen driver safety. The report found that teens whose parents set rules and pay attention to their driving activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to be involved in a crash.”