ST. CLOUD - Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for younger people, to combat this issue the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center hosted a crash avoidance class in St. Cloud in hopes of reducing teen driving accidents.

Inadequate skills, limited driving experience and poor decision making all factor into teen driving crashes. Larry Nadeau is the director of outreach at the Minnesota Highway Safety Center, he says the class was specifically designed with challenges young drivers may not be familiar with.

"When we look at the Minnesota crash data-we've targeted some maneuvers that kids are most at risk for on the roadways today," Nadeau says.

Each participant drove a provided vehicle for the exercises. During the course, drivers practiced hazard avoidance, off road recovery, skid recovery and reaction time limitations.

In 2012, Minnesota teen drivers only made up six percent of drivers on the road, but they were involved in around 12 percent of all traffic crashes. Teens were also over-represented in fatal crashes. Nadeau says the course gives teens a chance to experience scenarios that they won't find in drivers ed courses.

"Lots of teens have never had an opportunity to do this and our new technology in our cars are taking some of that skill away," Nadeau says.

There will be two more collision avoidance and parent awareness programs offered at the MHSRC this summer. The first will be from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on July 24th, another will be offered from 8:00 a.m. to noon on August 16th. The only cost is a $10 reservation fee. You can find more information on registration here.


Dan DeBaun, WJON News