IRL: Schmidt Motorsports helps "The Drivers Edge"

Innovative program to provide teens with "behind the wheel" driving experience launches in Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS (June 13, 2002) -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the team founded by Sam Schmidt to coincide with his tireless efforts to ...

Innovative program to provide teens with "behind the wheel" driving experience launches in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS (June 13, 2002) -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the team founded by Sam Schmidt to coincide with his tireless efforts to overcome paralysis and spinal cord injuries, will take an active role in the launch of The Drivers Edge, an innovative new program being launched June 20 in Las Vegas to provide teen drivers with behind the wheel experience that will assist in their development as safe, successful drivers.

Schmidt, a Las Vegas resident, and team driver Richie Hearn, also of Las Vegas, will be on hand to assist Drivers Edge founder Jeff Payne and other professional drivers as they provide comprehensive real life training for young drivers in an effort to combat ever increasing statistics on teen accidents and driving fatalities. The program, which will take place at Sunset Station, will include classroom and field study, with expert instruction on lane changes, braking, combating unexpected situations and more. The professional driving instructors, who have trained Hollywood superstars for driving roles, will be joined by Nevada and Las Vegas government officials for the launch of this important program.

"Assisting in the development of safe and knowledgeable drivers is vital as we strive to decrease the number of teen accidents and fatalities on our nations roads," said Schmidt. "We are thrilled to be a part of The Drivers Edge, and applaud Jeff Payne in his efforts to provide a training ground for young drivers."

The development of The Drivers Edge, a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization, is predicated on the fact that the nations schools do not have the facilities, budgets or expertise to develop and institute hands on training for young drivers, while the statistics on teen accidents are staggering. In the year 2000, over 8,000 drivers aged 15-20 were involved in fatal automobile collisions, while over 9,000 under the age of 20 lost their lives as a result of auto accidents. These figures represent more than twice the amount of teens killed by guns or violent crimes. In addition:

Drivers aged 15-24 are 20 times more likely to involved in fatal car accidents than mature drivers ^Äh Drivers aged 15-24 account for over 25% of all auto-related fatalities ^Äh A full classroom of high school aged children are killed everyday as a result of automobile crashes and Hearn to Help Teens Get The Drivers Edge

The June 20-21 program in Las Vegas is the kick-off of what is planned as a nationwide program that will include written, video and hands on training. Payne has launched the program in association with community-oriented corporations including Sprint, Saturn, Stations Casinos and National Airlines.

"I have spent more than five years working to make this program a reality, and in that time I have regularly learned of accidents that have impacted literally thousands of families," said Payne. "I don¡¦t expect that The Drivers Edge will eliminate teen auto-related fatalities, but I am very confident that the program and our team of professional instructors will provide all participants with experience they can not get anywhere else, and that experience will assist them in keeping themselves and those around them safer."

The Las Vegas Drivers Edge program will take place at Sunset Station on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21, with nearly 300 young drivers participating. The program will include lectures by professional drivers and hands on experience and exercises over a four hour period.

The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation helps individuals overcome spinal cord injuries and other debilitating illnesses by facilitating scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technology advances. The Foundation raises funds to improve the quality of lives and ensure best possible outcomes by touching individual lives.


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Series Charity , IndyCar
Drivers Richie Hearn , Sam Schmidt