Siuslaw River Boardwalk

Students Need Training Behind the Wheel; Safety First; Covid Update

Students Need Training Behind the Wheel

Conflicting information is out regarding the safety of Oregon’s teen drivers. One company, working to promote its software, says that Oregon ranks 11 in the nation for most teens involved in fatal crash deaths per capita. The American Automobile Association of America (AAA), however, says Oregon ranks 29th. No matter the ranking, it’s a serious issue, and most fatal crashes involving teens occur during the summer months. As schools close this week, driver’s education instructor Rob Griffes of Rob’s Driver’s Ed, says the most important thing a parent can do to help their teens become safe drivers is to allow them to practice.

“Driving takes time and so when a teen becomes good at operating the gas and the brake and turning the wheel a parent can falsely assume that they have developed the skills they need to in order to be the safe driving”

He adds the much harder skills to learn include perception, adequately recognizing hazards and risks, and having reasonable responses to them. Florence City Police Executive Assistant Jamie Gorder says there have been no teen vehicle fatalities inside the city of Florence in the last 5 years. Most such accidents happen outside the city limits. Statistics from the Lane County Sheriff’s office were unavailable.

“I find it ironic that parents will spend hours and hours on coaching and in sports or in music lessons and yet not invest very much time  in their teen learning to drive and driving is the highest risk activity that a parent will give their child permission to engage in.”

Rob Griffes has been teaching Siuslaw High School students since his son turned 15 and had no access to a driver’s ed instructor.

Safety First

With the advent of summer upon us and nicer weather conditions many will venture outside to enjoy the great amenities we have in the area, but emergency department director for Peace Harbor Dr. Willie Foster says we should be reminded of safety practices especially when it comes to celebrating the fourth of July holiday.

“It should be a responsible adult that handles the fireworks.  You Certainly shouldn’t  mix alcohol with fireworks cause that clouds your reaction time and judgment and I would be very hesitant allowing children using any type of firework except for maybe sparklers.”

Peace harbor is designated a level IV trauma center and the emergency room is staffed 24/7  by board certified emergency personnel.  Foster says they often see a surge in emergency cases during the summer months with so many recreational opportunities in the area.

Covid Update

Lane County had 26 new coronavirus cases yesterday and no new cases for the Florence area.  The new cases come as the state’s numbers for vaccinations is slowing.  Yesterday vaccinations for first dose individuals only rose one tenth of a percent.  Monday is the day governor Kate Brown set for having 70% on the population with at least a first dose, but with only 3 days left it may be a goal that is not reached.  Many counties across the state have reduced the number of vaccination clinics available to the public, but state health officials say that there is plenty of opportunity to get vaccinated.  Governor Brown says that once the goal is reached she will recommend opening up the economy and removing some of the stringent requirements brought on by the pandemic.  Less than a handful of counties have achieved the 70% mark on their own and many lesser populated counties are seeing rate around the 35 to 55% mark.