Free obstacle courses set up for young drivers this weekend

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Drivers maneuver around one of the tracks set up with obstacles and challenges. (Toyota)

Pennsylvania’s young drivers, ages 16 to 20, were involved in 26,813 crashes last year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

To reduce the number of teen-related crashes, Toyota is bringing its free, advanced driving-skills program to the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem this weekend, for teens with permits or new licenses and their parents.

Toyota has offered the program in more than 30 cities since 2004, but this will be the first time it will be available in the Philadelphia area. Nearly 20,000 young drivers and their parents have completed the 2.5-hour sessions, maneuvering around tracks and receiving classroom instruction from professional drivers.  

“The ultimate goal of the Toyota Driving Expectations program is for teens to develop responsible daily driving habits and gain the skills to handle challenging situations behind the wheel,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs, in a written statement.

The program goes beyond standard driver's-ed classes, providing  courses with obstacles and challenges, a controlled skidding section to learn how anti-lock braking systems work, and the experience of dealing with such distractions as talking and texting on cell phones, listening to loud music and drinking water.

Participants must have a driver’s license or learner’s permit and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Saturday’s classes are scheduled to start at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m., in the parking lot near Boscov’s department store. Sunday’s classes are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is available online at www.toyotadrivingexpectations.com. Participants can register at the site.

More information for young drivers and their parents is available at www.toyotateendriver.com.

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