The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Polk County School Board, are working to prepare our teens for safe driving! The Teen Driver Challenge is a FREE program offered to Polk County teens to address the primary factors affecting teen drivers – speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting while driving and distracted driving.
Why is this course needed?
- Teens ages 15-19 have the highest crash percentage of any age group in Florida
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers
- Approximately 25 to 30 percent of teen drivers will be involved in a crash within the first 12 months of getting their operator’s license
What is the Teen Driver Challenge about?
The Teen Driver Challenge provides young drivers with classroom learning AND hands-on experience, reducing their risk of becoming another tragic statistic. We encourage parents and teenagers to get involved in this valuable program – all it costs is nine hours of your time, but the rewards are priceless.
What does the program include?
The Polk Teen Driver Challenge is held on a Saturday from 8am – 5pm at the PCSO Burnham-McCall Training Center located at 2201 Old Bartow/Eagle Lake Road in Bartow, FL, 33830.
Students will be actively engaged throughout the day as they rotate through three learning stations. There is a classroom portion, a Driving Simulator portion, and a Behind the Wheel portion in a car on the driving pad.
The Driving Simulator is unique – it includes a variety of real-world scenarios that cannot safely be recreated on the road such as night driving, bad weather, texting while driving, and more. Great practice for teens to safely learn how to navigate hazards and dangerous situations while driving.
After you complete the Saturday session you will receive a certificate of completion which can be provided to your insurance company for a possible (not guaranteed) rate discount.
(In previous years there was also a Friday Night session, but everything has been consolidated into one Saturday session)
How to Register
Visit the Teen Driver Challenge Website to learn more about the program. Courses are typically offered one weekend each month. Plan ahead – classes often fill up weeks in advance.
To register your teen for the Teen Driver Challenge or check upcoming availability, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a form and further instructions. Once you have completed the packet, you can scan it and email it to email@example.com. You can also mail it to the Sheriff’s Office or drop it off at any Polk County Sheriff’s Office substation – visit the Teen Driver Challenge website for the mailing address and current contact person.
Additional Details & Requirements
Age – This program is for ages 15 – 19
Driver’s License and Previous Experience – Students must possess either a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license. Students are asked to have a minimum of one month’s worth of driving experience with a parent or other qualified adult before attending this class.
Students with a Learner’s Permit – May participate on their own in the Teen Driver Challenge but must be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older when arriving and anytime when leaving the facilities. Parents are not required to stay; however, they may do so if they choose. Parents are not allowed in the vehicle during the training and must provide arrangements for their teen’s lunch and accompany them when they are released to go home (Learner’s permits only).
Student Provided Vehicle – The student must provide a vehicle for the driving exercises. The vehicle must be in good mechanical condition. Tires and brakes need to be in a better than average condition. A vehicle inspection will be performed on every vehicle before the driving exercises begin and the vehicle must pass for your child to participate. (For families that do not have a vehicle or the ability to spare their vehicle for the entire duration of the course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about other available options.)
Visit the website: http://www.polksheriff.org/programs-services/teen-driver-challenge