Collision Avoidance Training for Teens

Over the past three years, three teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have been killed behind the wheel in Leon County.

Thursday, a fourth name was added to that list when 17-year-old Eric Thomas died from injuries he suffered in an auto accident.

The number one killer of teens is car accidents in Leon County we know first hand the sobering reality of this trend.

Thursday, 17-year-old, Eric Thomas died, two days after he was life-flighted from the scene of a one-car accident. For Paul Burris this accident opened old wounds.

In 1992 his 17-year-old son was killed in a car crash.

In 1992 Leon County was fifth in the state when it came to the number of teen drivers killed behind the wheel.

Today, Leon County is in the bottom five, and most teens think of themselves as good drivers.

"I wouldn't say I'm perfect I did say I was a 10, I'm about a nine or eight no ticket or accident and I've been driving for over two years,” teen driver Ross Beck says.

"I'm probably about a seven, I'm not super good but I'm not horrible,” says another teen Patrick Boland.

Fueled by pain and love for his son, Paul made his life's work making sure all teen drivers are a ten behind the wheel.

He's the driving force behind a collision avoidance training coarse for teens. Of the 1,800 kids who've gone through the program, less than three-percent have been involved in any type of wreck.

Compared the other counties our size, Leon County is among the lowest when it comes to the number of kids between 16-19 killed in car accidents.

The Collision Avoidance Training program or CAT is a two day course that teaches teens how to handle a car, the first part is in a classroom and then teens actually get behind the wheel of a car for the second part. Parents can call 681-0800 for more information.