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Teen Driving Safety Program


Over 50% of 16 -18 year olds in fatal auto crashes were unbelted.

In 2016, speed was a factor in 32% of the fatal crashes that involved teen drivers.

The fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16 -19 year-olds is nearly three times the rate for drivers aged 20+.

Teen drivers are 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with another teenager.

CTR’s Teen Driving Safety Program has participated in 85 events since its inception in 2015. These include 15 different high schools in nine East Tennessee counties, three private driving schools in Knox County, six college events, and 23 events and festivals open to the general public.

This program has connected with well over 7,000 high school students. Additionally, this program has been showcased at a 4-H leadership camp, a Community Teen event sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, UT College of Engineering’s Engineers Day targeting high school students across the state, and UT Police Department safety events. 

We have conducted assessments at our events and received over 1,300 completed evaluations. Some the comments in the evaluations indicate a shift in teens’ attitudes about seatbelt use:

  • Yes, I will use my seatbelt because I realized it would be bad to get in a wreck without one.
  • You should always wear your seatbelt, it can save your life.
  • You’d fly through the windshield if you didn’t have a seatbelt on.

Learn more about #GetConvinced at


Novice teen drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal crash. Despite a 46% decline in driver fatalities of 15- to 18-year-olds between 2007 and 2016, teens are still significantly over-represented in fatal crashes. Research from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration tells us that immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to these deadly crashes, leading to high-risk behavior behind the wheel: They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.

Seatbelt Convincer

The Seatbelt Convincer safely simulates a low-speed crash (5-7 MPH) by allowing a rider to sit in the seat at the top of the carriage, buckle up and once the lever is released, slowly slide down the inclined ramp hitting a rubber bumper at the bottom. The rider feels the force of this impact and the reaction from the rider is usually a bit of a shock because the impact is stronger than they imagine.

Teens & Truck Driving Simulator

This simulator houses six individual virtual reality simulator stations equipped with steering wheels, brake, and gas pedals, along with television monitors that wrap around the driver’s seat to make the experience as realistic as possible. Teens receive instructions from a state trooper aboard the trailer to navigate through the simulation. Each simulator station will take teens through seven possible driving situations including: distracted driving, stopping safely, reaction times, tractor trailers making wide turns, staying away from the No Zones of a tractor trailer, and obeying the Move Over Law.

Virtual Reality Goggles

CTR commissioned a 5-minute video, filmed in Knoxville, to be viewed on the Oculus Go VR Goggles. This video puts the viewer in a car with three other teens where they experience a variety of distracted and dangerous activities as the front seat passenger. To show the dangers of distracted driving, the viewer has a 360° view of all that’s going on in the car, then the ride ends with a crash on Neyland Drive.

Portable Driving Simulator

This driving simulator show teens how to drive safely around large trucks and buses. There are eight scenarios in a variety of circumstances such as wide turning and passing distance plus experiencing a large truck’s large blind spot called the No-Zone.  Additionally, weather conditions (snow, rain, fog) as well as rural roadways and nighttime driving can be added. This simulator has three large monitors plus a vehicle seat with seat belt, steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes, turn signals, and a horn.