Effingham County Sheriff's Office looking for ways to keep P.R.I - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Effingham County Sheriff's Office looking for ways to keep P.R.I.D.E. going

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Traffic crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. 

The state of Georgia alone is up 12 teen traffic deaths from this time last year. Tuesday night, we looked into a driver education program in Effingham County that is losing state funding but will continue on. 

P.R.I.D.E., or Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error, has been a program made possible through an occupant protection grant and facilitated by the University of Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute.

In Effingham County, P.R.I.D.E. has been a success, graduating thousands of students for the past five years. It's a dose of reality, peppered with information for parents and their teenage drivers. 

"The greatest chance of them being in a crash is going to be in the first six to 12 months of them having a license," said Effingham County Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Mundy to a class of around 30 teens and adults. 

The P.R.I.D.E. Program is free for participants, but it's losing grant funding through the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. It's a resource, though, that Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie isn't willing to let go. The sheriff said his office will work to find the funding to create a similar program. 

"As much of it as we can incorporate in the new program, we're going to bring over, but we're going to develop our own program and continue a program just like this," said Sheriff McDuffie said. 

Sheriff McDuffie says the experience both parent and teen driver get from this unique driver education course is well worth the cost and effort, and we heard what stood out for both sides after the workshop. 

"How many people die driving. In class, you never really get hold how many because no one really likes to talk about it, but in here, they give you some gruesome details," said Karleigh Hively, P.R.I.D.E. program participant. 

"Preparing them ahead of time to know the dangers of what could happen if they do things like texting and driving, or drinking and driving, or speeding or not wearing their seat belt," said Michelle Corless, who's 16-year old son participated in the program Tuesday night.

A representative with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety says they do stand behind the PRIDE Program, and they're currently looking for other ways to fund it. 

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