AAA program focuses on teen driving

The American Automobile Association presented “CinemaDrive” to the Ohio Teen Institute Leadership Conference Monday evening at Brennemann Music on the Heidelberg University campus.

The program is AAA’s new interactive educational pilot program for young drivers that addresses drunk driving, texting while driving, fatigue, speeding, seat belts and peer pressure. AAA sponsors the program through Cinema Park of North Carolina.

Car accidents remain the leading cause of death for teenagers. According to Ohio Department of Public Safety, 43,544 15- to 19-year-olds were involved in crashes, 11,598 were injured and 94 died on Ohio roads in 2013.

The program was first shown by AAA in March, said Whitney Mason, youth traffic safety manager for AAA.

“CinemaDrive” is a two-hour, 3-D educational program that enables viewers to experience hazardous driving situations. Participants have the opportunity to make their own decisions and voice opinions anonymously.

“There are five different parts of the program,” Mason said. “There is a 3-D portion, and sections where the students can interact and be a part of the program.”

The first part of the program is an interactive quiz, which asks questions such as “How dangerous is texting and driving?” and “If you had one beer, how safe is it to drive?” From there, Mason said, participants go through the program and watch videos and interact with the screen. At the end, students retake the quiz.

“The percentage of the scores go up significantly,” Mason said.

The presentation Monday was the third given by AAA. The others were at Buckeye Valley High School and Teas Valley High School.

Brody Yingling, adult staff member for OTI, of Findlay, said, “This program is a step-up of programs (issued) through the county sheriff’s offices. Its not the old VHS tapes that you see from the ’80s”

“I look at my phone when I am driving, but I don’t ever text and drive. I think it is a part of the digital culture that we live in,” Yingling said. “I’m not afraid to say anything and I am always after people for their seat belts.”