Les Shields has a saying that he often repeats to teenage drivers, hoping it will get lodged in their minds.
“Distractions are a fatal attraction,” he says.
Teaching teens safe driving habits is a priority for the retired Clinton police officer, whose teenage granddaughter recently obtained her license. To that end, his efforts helped bring collision avoidance training to the area.
Collision avoidance training is a two-day course for young drivers, preferably with a year or less of licensed driving experience, that will hopefully teach them to learn the limits of their vehicles, and their own driving ability. The two-day course is taught by area police officers, and includes a classroom portion and a practical portion, wherein a police officer will actually ride with the teen during training.
According to Shields, many of the techniques students learn in the training are similar to police advanced driving techniques. He discovered the program, sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide, after teaching his granddaughter some defensive driving techniques.
“They teach the exact same things I wanted my granddaughter to know, and more,” Shields said.
The classroom portion of the class will be on Friday, Sept. 16, and the driving portion will take place the day of Sept. 17. There is a strict limit of 20 students in the class, so Shields encourages early registration.
In order to help cover the costs of class materials, and to help pay the salaries of the officer instructors, a $100 charge per student is in effect.
The training is sponsored by the Gateway Area Police Administrators. Only students living in areas under the jurisdiction of GAPA law enforcement are eligible to receive the training. This includes Clinton, Camanche, DeWitt, Fulton and those under the jurisdiction of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.
The classes will be conducted on a monthly basis, assuming the minimum number of students register. Classes will run during fair weather months, probably May to October, for safety reasons.
To register, contact Les Shields at 242-3553 or stop by 436 Mill Ridge Road for an application.