Ignorance can kill you. That’s the message the Oro Valley Police Department wants to resound in the minds of students every time they get behind the steering wheel.
Last August, officers with the Oro Valley Police Department school resource officer and motor division, along with administration from several northwest-area schools attended a training program for Impact Teen Drivers, a nationwide educational program that reveals the real dangers and consequences of distracted and reckless driving, which takes the lives of about 3,000 teenagers each year.
Officers Ron Beauchamp and Dan Horetski, school resource officers at Canyon Del Oro High School, were part of that training and made sure to pass the message along to the school’s 1,600 students.
But for them, that wasn’t enough. They wanted to do something more.
Now, thanks to a $1,200 donation from National Auto Collision Centers, Beauchamp and Horetski are putting their own spin on safe driving.
“Impact Teen Drivers is a great program, and we didn’t need to go above and beyond, but we wanted to in order to make sure students really buy into this,” said Beauchamp.
To do so, Beauchamp decided to implement a practice his parents used on him as a teenager to promote driving safety.
Each student that attends the Impact Teen Driver training program will be given a weepul – a small, fluffy toy with googly eyes to be placed in plain site within their vehicle as a reminder to be responsible behind the wheel.
Beauchamp is calling each of the weepuls “ICKY,” short for “Ignorance Can Kill You.” The weepuls will be custom-designed wearing school colors and the CDO Dorado headdress.
When National Auto Collision Centers’ owner Bill Jones and general manager Kim Poissant were asked to help fund the program, they readily agreed.
“We understand the importance of education and safe-driving,” said Poissant. “We both have children and grandchildren, so we know the value of programs like this. When they asked us to help, we said, ‘Absolutely.’”
The donation will cover the program for two years.