The legal team at Coker Law is committed to the safety of the First Coast community and ensuring that young drivers are given the tools they need to be ready when its their turn to get behind the wheel. “Every day at Coker Law we hear about crashes caused by drivers who made bad decisions behind the wheel,” said Coker Law partner Matthew Posgay. “Our goal is to teach safe and smart driving techniques from the very start in order to prevent these tragedies from happening.”
According to the NHTSA, novice teen drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal crash. Research shows that immaturity and inexperience are primary factors, leading to high-risk behavior behind the wheel: driving at nighttime, driving after drinking alcohol, and driving distracted by passengers and electronic devices. County wide budget cuts for in school driver’s education creates additional dangers by not providing an opportunity for students to have an affordable and convenient opportunity to practice their driving skills before getting on the roadways.
Coker Law is tackling that problem by investing in Safer Streets Through Smarter Drivers. In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April sponsored by the National Safety Council and National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18-24, 2020) sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), Coker Law is partnering with Samuel W. Wolfson Highschool, Paxon School for Advanced Studies and Apex Resource Center to bring cutting edge driver’s education to its youngest student drivers. Coker Law donated an Apex Virtual Vehicle© to both high schools for students to begin their drivers education before they get behind the wheel of a car. The Vehicle features an innovative and interactive hands-on driving experience through virtual training technology. Students who are working on or have received their learner’s permit will be able to learn safe driving techniques without the dangers of being on the road.
The Apex Virtual Vehicle© was developed by former competitive racer and now driver safety educator, Trish Johnson, who has successfully trained more than 12,000 drivers and developed training programs for an array of driving abilities and vehicles. “The Apex Virtual Vehicle© training technology was designed to fill that dangerous skill gap when young people are legally able to begin driving, but don’t have the skills to be safe on the roads,” said Johnson. “The driver is interacting with the learning experience, but their mistakes are not going to be tragic or devastating.”
The Apex Virtual Vehicle© is the only source of driver’s education available at no charge to the students at Samuel W. Wolfson High School. “Unfortunately, with the budget cuts we’re facing across the state, our driver’s education normally held during the school day has been cut,” said Samuel W. Wolfson High School Principal, Christopher Begley. “So, for an organization like Coker Law to step in and provide this level of technology for our students, through its Safer Streets Through Smarter Drivers campaign, is truly lifesaving and very appreciated.”
Paxon School for Advanced Studies received their Apex Virtual Vehicle© in March of 2o20. Their school is boarded by a busy intersection and a middle school. Principal Royce Turner has serious concerns on a daily basis that distracted or inexperienced drivers arriving and departing the school have an unusual amount of challenges that could lead to a dangerous or deadly situation. He and the PTSA are appreciative that students will have the opportunity to learn in a virtual environment before they are faced with real life driving decisions.
Coker Law’s, Safer Streets Through Smarter Drivers campaign will target ninth grade students who turn 14-15 years old during the school year. The Apex Virtual Vehicles© will be located in classrooms used for virtual and online learning. An instructor will provide course instruction and evaluation to students using the vehicle and students will also be able to utilize a self-directed tutorial program through headsets.