April 29, 2005

WNCC Nets $90,000 Traffic Safety Grant for Driver Training

Western Nevada Community College has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, a division of the Department of Public Safety. The grant will help fund WNCC's innovative driver training program, Driver Training Through Technology, which uses classroom training and computerized driving simulators to provide realistic yet safe driving experiences and teaches students how to react quickly and efficiently to hazards on the road.

The 30-hour program will train 400 drivers in three groups: beginning drivers, experienced drivers who are learning to drive with new physical limitations, and people who drive as part of their employment. The primary goal of the program is to reduce the number of traffic accidents. Students will be tracked after two years to determine the number of accidents and citations they had compare to a cohort group without the training.

The need for driver education in Nevada, and WNCC's 18,000-square-mile service area, is critical. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Nevada is one of only 15 states to be ranked as "marginal" or "poor" for young driver licensing, yet driver education is considered a frill at many high schools. In addition, drivers age 75 and older have one of the highest rates of fatal daytime accidents but, as a group, don't realize their abilities have become impaired over the years. Finally, many employers need affordable, effective defensive driving training for their employees who drive company-owned vehicles.

The next new-driver training class is in May, with additional classes throughout the summer at WNCC. Some grant funds will be used to reduce the cost of these classes from $95 to $49.

For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198
E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu

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