Shipping & Receiving Supervisor, Missouri State Bookstore
“Street Survival Teen Driving Program”
From sleeping with matchbox cars as a child to now owning his own Formula Vee racer, Tim Datema has long had a passion for cars and speed. Tim became one of the youngest members of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) while still in high school and is currently one of the youngest SCCA board members as current Regional Executive of the Ozark Mountain Region chapter.
Last year over 5,000 teenagers died in motor vehicle crashes, the leading killer of American youths aged 16 to 19, accounting for more than 40 percent of fatalities in that age bracket. Because the need is real and the cause compelling, Tim, his wife Virginia and the Ozark Mtn SCCA chapter held the first Tire Rack Street Survival program last November. The primary emphasis of the Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving program is to provide teens a “hands-on” driving experience using their personal car that they drive every day. Teens are taught the skills and the physics behind basic car control in order to avoid accidents and stay alive behind the wheel. Held at the Ducks Stadium in Ozark, 17 students from Springfield, Rogersville, Branson and Harrison, AR attended the program. Tim states that, “Street Survival is unique because it teaches critical thinking and control skills that young drivers desperately need through one-on-one instruction. Our chapter typically holds performance-driving events like autocross, rallycross, and circuit racing, so we have a talented group of members that are very eager to put their driving skillset to instructive use for the good of the community.”
Over 101 Street Survival programs were held across the country in 2013. Tim notes that one of the most satisfying parts of being involved is watching the transformation of a teen from the start of the program through to the finish. “Students arrive early in the morning thinking their parents have signed them up for an all-day Drivers Ed course, so they are obviously less than enthused. Within the first circuit of the exercises as they slide their cars through panic lane changes and threshold braking, they realize this is way more than Drivers Ed and begin to have a lot of fun and gain respect for the power of their vehicle.”
Because speed plays a large part in teen fatalities, it’s Tim’s hope that by providing a structured outlet for teens to understand and respect how speed affects their car’s ability to maneuver, they will become a safer driver and not a statistic. The Ozarks Mountain Region SCCA chapter intentions to hold another driving school later this year.
For his ethical leadership, civic engagement and dedication to providing a safer community we are pleased to recognize Tim Datema as the March 2014 Public Affairs Staff Spotlight!