Thursday, January 15th, 2009

The Morris County Freeholders have agreed to join in a safety initiative aimed at young drivers.

The freeholders will partner with the Morris County Joint Insurance Fund and Randolph Township to fund software upgrades to driver simulators at the county Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany.

The upgrades will enable the simulators to be used by high school students in the county to learn what it is really like to drive in various conditions.
The equipment can be programmed to simulate such real highway scenarios as curves in the road; inclement weather conditions; driving at high speeds; and even deer darting out from the side of the road.

This will be part of “Alive @ 25,” a national interactive safety program in place in several Morris County communities that encourages young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 to take responsibility for their driving behavior.

“Research shows the leading cause of young driver accidents involve one or a combination of several factors including inexperience and the lack of awareness to the consequences of risk-taking behavior,” Freeholder Doug Cabana said.
“The simulators will help young drivers learn what happens when you get behind the wheel and develop strategies that will keep them safer on the road.”

Cabana, freeholder liaison to law and public safety, said the county, the MCJIF and Randolph will each chip in $6,000 to pay for the upgrades. He said the simulators are used by the county to train county employees and for basic police training.

“The simulators see a lot of down time, so the fact that they will now be used by high school students will be a more efficient use of the equipment,” Cabana said. “It is also another example of a shared service the county is offering to municipalities.”