Several area law enforcement agencies are teaming up to take part in a safe driving program over the next six weeks.

The New York State Police announced Wednesday it’s working with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealer’s Association and the Department of Motor Vehicles in the program, which will target drivers ages 16 to 24.

The program will bring automobile safety information to local high school students.

“The majority of crashes occur during the first six months of licensed driving, when young, inexperienced drivers have not yet adequately developed key driving skills such as driving attention, visual search strategies, speed relative to conditions, hazard recognition and emergency maneuvers.” said David Swarts, commissioner of the state DMV. “(Young drivers) are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than the driving population.”

Gil Licata, principal of Starpoint High School, and Dan Johnson, principal of Wilson High School, worked with law enforcement to bring the program together. Both schools have dealt with the loss of a student during the winter months as a result of a car crash.

Participating schools have developed public service announcements about dangerous driving.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of STOP DWI, the Erie County Chiefs of Police and the Traffic Safety Board have partnered with Drive Square Inc., manufacturer of a driving simulator, to bring the simulator to schools.

Over the next six weeks, the driving simulator will be brought to participating schools.

“I have seen too many needless tragedies as an accident reconstructionist that have resulted from driver inexperience,” Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said. “Any potential tools or teaching aids that can help educate our young drivers has to be seriously considered.”

The program could be expanded to more schools in the next six weeks.

Any group or school who would like more information about the Safe Driving Program and the simulator is asked to contact New York State Police Sgt. David Miller at (585) 344-6227.

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