Richmond hosts 600 teens for crash prevention program

Posted at 8:22 AM, Sep 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-19 08:22:05-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Here's something to think about, thousands of teens are injured in car crashes every year in Virginia. Today an event hopes to bring that number down, by bringing more awareness and tips to teen drivers on how to keep themselves and others safe on the road.

This is the second time AAA Mid-Atlantic has hosted the event, and this year they are doing it at a venue that's hosted some of the world's best drivers - Richmond's International Raceway.

Hundreds of teens from across Central Virginia will take part in the I-Drive program.

In 2011, 4,266 Virginia teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were injured in car crashes.  Twenty-nine drivers and 25 passenger were killed in those crashes.

The two-day I-Drive event allows teens to participate in various real-life scenarios that include drunk driving simulations, one-on-one discussions with police and the teens will get the opportunity to hear from and to talk with DUI crash survivor Sarah Panzau. 

She was injured in a DUI crash in 2003 and lost part of her arm in the crash.

Now she's sharing her story, to prevent others from going through a similar situation.

"So many times, their (the teens) favorite part of the retreat is getting to meet each other and to find teens that have similar interests as them and communicating with each other," said Haley Glynn with Youth of Virginia Speak out.  "They can relate to other teens that are experiencing the same peer pressure, and the same problems in their schools.  And they can talk to each other and figure out the problem areas and really make a difference."

For more information on Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, click here.