Pinellas County Sheriff Teen Driver Challenge

teen driver challenge2

A program for teen drivers taught by PCSO driving instructors. Young drivers are taught the rules of the road and the consequences of distracted driving – due to texting, music, passengers, substance abuse.

E-mail Scott Collins at for more information.

Upcoming classes for 2016:

  • September 23 & 24
  • October 21 & 22
  • November 18 & 19
  • December 9 & 10

The Teen Driver Challenge is a defensive driving and vehicle control program designed for teenage drivers. The two-day program is designed to provide young drivers with the knowledge and understanding of vehicle dynamics and human kinetics, the forces created by an automobile and the effects of the forces on the human body. The program is supported by the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

The objective of the program is to enhance the young driver’s awareness of the complex task of operating a motor vehicle and to create and practice skills that will prepare them to anticipate and handle hazards that occur daily in normal driving conditions. This program has been created by law enforcement professionals. The curriculums were created around the fact that most crashes involving teenage drivers are classified as “avoidable” and due to lack of experience or training, teens are not prepared to make the vehicle respond appropriately.

The education segment (defensive driving) is designed to give the student a better understanding of the responsibilities and liabilities of the driver, vehicle dynamics, friction and the effects of intoxicating substances on their ability to operate the vehicle. This portion of the program gives the students a better understanding of why the vehicle responds the way it does and prepares them for the exercises on the driving range. The basic principles of safe, defensive driving are emphasized throughout this program.

Skills and Techniques:
The purpose and the structure of this program is to give young drivers a strong foundation from which they can continue to develop and improve their driving skills to a consistently high level while maintaining safe driving habits. Due to lack of experience, most teens have little or no idea of how the vehicle responds in a given situation or how to regain control of the car once it is out of control.

Eight basic skills, actions and/or techniques of driving are identified as areas that teens need experience or training to safely operate a motor vehicle. Steering, acceleration, deceleration, backing and off road recovery are some of the tasks addressed in this program. Training exercises used in this program have been adopted from the law enforcement-training manual that is approved by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Student drivers must complete the following exercises:

Training Exercises:

  • 1. Evasive Maneuvers
  • 2. Off Road Recovery
  • 3. Threshold – Emergency Braking
  • 4. Forward Serpentine
  • 5. Cornering
  • 6. Reverse Serpentine
  • 7. Backing
  • 8. Figure 8

All classes are conducted under the direct supervision of certified high liability driving instructors. Instructors ride with each student and students move to the next exercise only after the instructor feels the student has demonstrated a reasonable degree of skill.

PLEASE NOTE: A valid learner or operator license and a vehicle are required to complete this course, along with a photo-copy of the teen’s drivers license and insurance card.

To enroll, you must download the forms, some of which must be notarized. The program is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please click the links below for release forms and applications:

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Written by Pamela Settle, owner of Light Shine Media Group and publisher of GoodLiving® Magazine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced without permission.

GoodLiving Magazine® is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.

As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.

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