Juvenile drivers face a list of repercussions for traffic citations, and Kari Poss has recently added one more consequence.
Since March 2006, the Columbia County Juvenile Court traffic coordinator and probation officer has overseen a bimonthly seminar for juvenile teen drivers cited in Juvenile Court for moving violations ranging from speeding and reckless driving to violations of license restrictions during the first six months of driving.
Poss will soon add the national PRIDE (Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error) program into the seminar that she has recently dubbed Traffic Intervention Program.
The seminar already includes numerous speakers, demonstrations from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office as well as mandatory participation in the sheriff's office STOPPED program, license suspension and tougher fines and recommendations, Poss said.
"Their community service is not picking up trash. It is educational," Poss said, adding that unlike adults, teens can't just pay the ticket and leave without further action. "I'm trying to teach them. That is my main thing, to educate these kids."
The PRIDE program, a two-hour course designed to help parents and their new or soon-to-be teen drivers, ages 14-16, learn what they need to do during the 40 hours of supervised practice driving time required by Georgia law. Rather than a technical hands-on driver training course, the program addresses driver attitude, knowledge and behavior of both the parent and new teen driver.
The program will be added to the seminar in June.
Before that occurs, Poss's seminar on March 24 will feature several speakers, including Alan Brown, the father of Joshua Brown for whom the newly instituted Joshua's Law is named. Joshua died after a single-car collision while he was driving alone on a wet road.
John Datka, an Augusta 16-year-old who was driving in a wreck that killed his best friend in September, also will speak as part of his court-ordered sentence. Donna Hall - whose son Daniel was killed April 15, 2003, while on the way to a Greenbrier High School golf tournament - will share her experiences as well.
Daniel's is one of 10 photos on a poster board of all teens killed on Columbia County roads since Brandon Layton's death on Feb. 28, 2003. The board of teens is what keeps Poss continuing to educate teen drivers.
Like with the PRIDE program, Poss now requires at least one parent to attend the seminar with the child.
Poss said teen drivers with alcohol charges and teens up to age 18 in traffic courts in Harlem and Grovetown also will be required to attend the seminar to include PRIDE.
Donnell Jones, owner of Jones Drivers Education and a certified PRIDE instructor who will assist Poss with upcoming seminars, said the addition of PRIDE to the required classes is a perfect match.
"I love this," Jones said. "I think it is great because this is what we need."
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