Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 16, 2013

CRASH COURSE

STAFF REPORTS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In 2010, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for teenage Americans — male and female alike. 

In all, 3,115 teens died in car accidents that year, the latest year for which data is available. While that’s a significant drop from 1975 — 64 percent, in fact — and 10 percent fewer than in 2009, it’s 3,115 too many.

With that in mind, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara County Stop DWI office, New York State Police, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and Calspan are teaming up to teach the importance of driving safety to Western New York high school students.

The 18th Annual Niagara County Traffic Safety Fair is a hands-on demonstration showing teens the importance of attentiveness behind the wheel. 

Starpoint High School sent about 190 students to attend on Wednesday. Barker, Newfane and Wilson students will attend today. 

What they’ll see is the damage of a 30-mph controlled impact, slamming one vehicle into another; the potential ramifications of a rollover accident, and the dangers of driving drunk — or even buzzed.

In all, 3,000 kids will attend the traffic safety fair, nearly as many as were lost in 2010. 

Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour knows that “we’re not going to convince every one of them to make good decisions … but we hope we can reach a few of them anyway.”

A few more good decisions could lead to a few less accidents — and a few less casualties.

Voutour said he appreciates that school districts are able to send students given the increasing difficulty in school curriculums and budget crunches. 

“It’s hard for schools,” he said. “But they always make time for this.”

He said they like to hold the safety fair around prom season and close to when school lets out for the summer because that’s when caution is most needed. 

SEE FOR YOURSELF • For a video of the crash students saw, go to http://tinyurl.com/cnhcx6p.