By VICTORIA CALDERON
• Leader & Times
The Business and Industry Office at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School is offering a Defensive Driving Class in July.
The class was made after the office received phone calls requesting training courses in defensive driving, and it is catered towards employees of businesses with driving requirements, parents with teenagers learning to drive and people looking to lower their insurance costs.
Those who complete the class receive a certificate, which is good for two years. They can take a renewal course once the certification expires.
The class will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 19, in the SCCC Student Union. The non-credit class costs $35. Every student will receive a book for the program.
Anyone interested in taking the course can enroll by calling 417-1170, the Business and Industry Office’s main line.
The course has been offered two times by SCCC, earlier this spring. Previously, they only offered courses for truck drivers, but now the program is for any driver in the community.
The Business and Industry Director, Norma Jean Dodge, said one of the classes was offered on a Friday, the other on a Saturday. The weekend date brought out a better turnout, due to students and teachers wanting to be involved.
“I wanted to try and make it work for everybody’s schedule, so I’ll try to do some during the week, some on the weekend,” Dodge said. “We had another one that was on a weekend... and we had about 10 to 12 in there. So it’s a good turnout for us. As long as we’re putting it on for the community and we have people showing up, we’ll keep doing stuff like that.”
The instructor for the course is Michael Racy, a trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
“He’s certified through AAA, and that’s how I found him,” Dodge said. “We do a lot of stuff with the state and the Kansas Department of Transportation.
“He’s actually from Garden City, but he does this type of training for people in the area, so we’re just glad to have him out here.”
According to the brochure for the course, students will “learn to avoid accidents by identifying and responding to risky driving hazards. In addition, you’ll learn to identify the effects of impaired driving, maintain control in adverse situations, understand the most common driving errors that contribute to collisions, recognize uncontrollable driving conditions, why vehicle maintenance is necessary, and learn defensive maneuvers that help maintain control. You’ll also learn how the right attitude can help prevent both collisions and poor decision-making.”
Trooper Racy will teach these skills using videos and hands-on experience. For example, the students will use goggles that warp and impair the wearer’s vision the same way alcohol and drugs do. They use this method to show drivers how unsafe intoxicated driving is.
The course also covers other hazards and distractions to drivers, such as texting and calling.
“I think it would benefit a lot of people, first of all with saving money on their insurance, and plus... it’s just a refresher on what you need to be doing behind the wheel,” Dodge said. “I think we just get behind the wheel and we go, and we don’t think about some of those things. So hopefully, this will refresh people with what they need to be aware of to drive safe when they’re on the road.”
Although Dodge has gotten the ball rolling on this project, future classes will be passed on to the Joy Fosdick, the Business and Industry Facilitator.
“Once I got it started, I passed it over to Joy, who works in my office. She does more of the community enrichment classes,” Dodge said. “She’s working with Trooper Racy on getting that on her fall schedule. We’re hoping to offer at least one in the fall, spring and summer.”
Drivers interested in taking the course can register up until the day of the class. However, since the course provides books and certificates, Dodge encourages those interested to register as soon as possible so the instructor has enough materials available.
The Chief Financial Officer at the college, Tommy Williams, and Dodge’s secretary both have taken the course from SCCC in the past.
“From the people who have taken it, we’ve heard nothing but good things,” Dodge said.
“This is one of many classes we do out of requests from the community. You don’t have to drive out to Wichita or Kansas City or Topeka to get the training you need. If you need something and you don’t see the college offering it, give our office a call. We would definitely look into seeing how we could do that training here to save you food costs, hotel costs and mileage. We’re hoping we can meet that need here in the community.”