Driver safety program set for Saturday

PARKERSBURG — A safety program for teenage drivers will be held 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the former Kmart on Division Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

The program, in its 30th year, is presented by local police, businesses and State Farm insurance agent Dan McPherson. Its purposes is to teach youth about the dangers of risky behavior.

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death of teens. McPherson promotes safety by educating youth and their parents of the dangers of impaired and distracted driving, such as texting while driving.

“This is near and dear to my heart because our children are the most important things in our lives,” McPherson said. “I am committed to doing everything I can to reduce these tragedies and help save lives.”

The event will include 10 stations. Businesses have donated gifts for participants who complete all stations.

The stations are:

∫ Simulated impaired driving while driving a golf cart through a course using fatal vision goggles. Donated by Professional Radiator and the city of Parkersburg.

∫ Simulated distracted driving while driving a golf cart through a cones course while texting. Donated by the City of Parkersburg.

∫ Sobriety checkpoint with state, county and city police.

∫ Meeting with the county coroner with a limo and hearse to illustrate how most students go to the prom and how they could leave if they make wrong decisions. Donated by Leavitt Funeral Home.

∫ Volunteer fire departments will demonstrate extrication tools and techniques on a wrecked vehicle. Donated by Pifer’s Service Center.

∫ Tractor-trailer driver demonstrates the dangers of too closely following a tractor-trailer. Donated by DuPont.

∫ The 911 mobile command and disaster unit. Donated by Wood County 911.

∫ The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Agency DUI simulator demonstrating the dangers of drinking and driving. Sponsored by the agency and State Farm.

∫ Guest speaker Stacey Fordyce, whose life changed forever at age 19 when she decided to get in a car with an intoxicated driver. Fordyce, a Parkersburg South High School student who was an honor roll student, class president, homecoming queen and track athlete, in the accident suffered a broken neck and is paralyzed from the neck down.

∫A guest speaker who will discuss being a recovering drug addict in hopes of preventing others from engaging in drug use.