Life can be measured by a laundry list of achievements, and getting your driver’s license is usually near the top of that list.
BCF Group, a Lancaster-based insurance agency, understands the anxiety that teens and parents feel when it comes to the license procedure and driving in general.
That’s why the business will host a “Teen Safe Driving Seminar and Interactive Workshop” from 7:30-11:30 a.m. April 14 at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center in Manheim. The event is free.
“(We at BCF) are passionate about our clients and community and are invested in the local area, and we want to encourage driving safety,” said Heather Groff, director of operations for the BCF Group.
Dale Amspacher, a driver education teacher at Pequea Valley High School, will assist at the event. He wants to drive home the importance of driving safely in spite of the almost constant presence of technology in the lives of many students.
“Even though the electronics are there, they do not have to be utilized if a person has developed the correct philosophy and has developed patterns of behavior that will be most conducive to driving in today’s high data-driven driving environments.
“I put in 30,000 miles per year with the driver’s ed car and have firsthand knowledge of all the bad decisions adult and teen drivers are making, and I am appalled,” he added. “My desire is to be one of many voices calling for change.”
Former Lancaster County resident Jacy Good will be the keynote speaker at the event.
In 2008, Good and her parents were driving home from her graduation at Muhlenberg College when their car was struck by a tractor-trailer, which was swerving to avoid a distracted driver in another car. Good’s parents were killed, and Good was hospitalized and given a 10 percent chance to live. She ended up staying in the hospital for four months and sustained injuries that still impact her today.
After her experience, Good was armed with a desire to share her story and encourage drivers to practice safety when behind the wheel.
Good and her husband, Steve Johnson, now travel the country speaking to groups about distracted driving. Their website, hangupanddrive.com, provides education and statistics on the topic.
“Less than a year after her accident, she was campaigning for a cellphone ban behind the wheel,” Groff said. “Eventually, she ended up speaking on the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ and CNN.”
Groff and the BCF Group staff hope Good will bring a positive message through her speech. “We want parents and teens to leave feeling encouraged by the impact.”
Good’s speech will serve to augment the rest of the activities of the day. There will be a set of four stations that will each have an element to educate teens on the potential dangers of distracted driving.
There will be a mock car crash scene, where representatives from Goodville Mutual Casualty Co. will offer advice on what to do when involved in an accident, such as whom to contact and how to proceed from there. Officers from the East Hempfield Township Police Department will offer a presentation on impaired driving, which will feature the opportunity for teens to don a pair of goggles that imitate how one’s vision can be clouded while intoxicated. In addition, there will be a presentation on vehicle safety and how to be sure that all of the parts of a car are working properly for driving.
There will also be a station that is centered on improving parallel parking skills.
“(Teens) need to start with a more methodical approach to identifying hazards, predicting future events, deciding on the best course of action and executing the maneuvers,” Amspacher said.
“By having a solid foundation, they have a better chance of survival should something untoward happen,” he added.