Ontario County Courts in New York Can Now Direct Teen Traffic Violators to Use teenSMART as Alternative to Prosecution

October 17, 2019

Ontario County, NY, October 17, 2019 – ADEPT Driver®, a research and development company that creates proven crash avoidance training programs for drivers of all ages, and the Ontario County courts in New York state have established a partnership that allows the courts to use ADEPT’s teenSMART® program to address high risk traffic safety issues involving teen drivers. Judges in Ontario County now have discretion to sentence teen traffic violators to complete ADEPT’s teenSMART training as an alternative to prosecution.

Using effective neurocognitive psychometrics, teenSMART provides realistic and challenging driving simulations that target the six leading causes of teen driver crashes. Many research studies have found that teens that complete the computer-based course have significantly fewer crashes with less severe outcomes.

“Traffic violations like speeding or running a red light can have serious and potentially deadly consequences,” said Suzanne Cirencione with the Ontario STOP-DWI and Traffic Safety Programs. “We want young drivers who violate our traffic laws to learn how to be safer drivers. When a teen completes the teenSMART crash reduction program it helps ensure that such safety risks are not repeated and is a better long-term outcome for our community.”

The option to use teenSMART as a prosecution diversion tool was implemented through a partnership between ADEPT Driver and Ontario County STOP-DWI and Traffic Safety Programs. The teen traffic violators who complete teenSMART training will benefit in three ways – they become safer drivers by learning how to avoid crashes, they avoid having a point added to their insurance, and the traffic violation ticket is removed from the teen’s driving record.

“Traffic violations for speeding, tailgating, texting or aggressive lane changes are symptoms of unsafe driving behavior,” said Dr. Richard Harkness, CEO of ADEPT Driver. “Our training treats the causes of these behaviors, such as risk perception, under-developed visual awareness or hazard detection skills, and choices to engage in distracted driving. The Ontario Courts are providing a model that could be utilized nationwide to improve traffic safety. We want all teen drivers to have the safe driving skills needed to avoid crashes. National Teen Driver Safety Week is a good reminder that all teens should get teenSMART training.”

National Teen Driver Safety Week, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is recognized October 20-26. Senior management representatives from ADEPT Driver and STOP-DWI and Traffic Safety Programs will present on this innovative pilot program at the New York Highway Safety Symposium in Albany, NY during Teen Driver Safety Week.

Since the Ontario Courts program was launched, a growing number of teen traffic violators in Ontario have completed teenSMART as an alternative to prosecution. This number is expected to continue growing in 2020.

In addition to ADEPT’s teenSMART crash reduction training program, judges in Ontario’s traffic court also have the discretion to order adult traffic violators to complete Lifelong Driver®, ADEPT Driver’s training program for mature drivers age 55 and older that teaches life-saving situational awareness skills.

The STOP-DWI Program was created by the New York State Legislature in 1981 and stands for “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.” STOP-DWI is based on the philosophy that innovative local efforts are the key to solving the impaired driving problem. The emphasis of the program is to coordinate as many deterrents as possible, providing comprehensive solutions.

ADEPT Driver’s technologies and training programs have been vetted by numerous insurance carriers for over two decades. To date, nearly 500,000 teen drivers in 49 states have used teenSMART training to reduce their crash risk and lower their insurance rates. teenSMART has been approved for premium discounts by the departments of insurance in 49 states.

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