WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Williamson County Sheriff's Department hosts its 8th annual Traffic Safety event April 19-22.
Organizers of the event say it's designed to supplement and reinforce classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction for driver's ed students.
"We work to find activities and presentations that young drivers need and that our schools don't have time or resources to arrange," Deputy Brian Murrah with the Williamson County Sheriff's Dept. said.
Over the course of the four day event, more than 1,450 students from 28 schools in 10 Southern Illinois counties are expected to attend.
Each day is similar to a regular school day, with a new group of students each day.
Students are divided into groups and rotate through the presentations.
Throughout the day, organizers say students are exposed to nine different safe-driving presentations and activities during six class periods. These presentations include: Work Zone Safety, Motorcycle Awareness, Operation Lifesaver, Distracted Driving, No-Zone Semi Display, Seat Belt Convincer and Roll-Over Simulator, Driving Simulators, Street Smart and Agricultural equipment.
The event has presentations and active participation to show and give important safe-driving information to the students.
From work zone safety and learning about semi trucks on the road, students say this event is one that gives a young driver a new outlook.
"It just gives you a whole new perspective in what they have to go through to stay safe," Pinckneyville Community high school freshman, Zach Patterson said about semi trucks on the road. "I mean you could have a wreck at any time. So could they and they could make it a lot worse."
Illinois State Police say teen drivers account for roughly 10 percent of fatalities in Illinois and bringing that percentage down is not just a student effort.
"It takes the whole community," Illinois State Police, Trooper Joey Watson said. "We need to take this as a heads up, you know we need to do something about this on a grass roots level, starting in a household. You know, how can I model my behavior to my new driver so that we all successfully make it through this issue of driving."
The event stresses the fatal four quite heavily to students: DUI, seat belt usage, distracted driving, and speeding.
Students say the information and activities are ones they'll remember when they get behind a wheel.
"It teaches you a lot," Patterson said. "You know seeing the videos want kids to not want to drink and drive, pay attention to the road, don't text and drive."
The event is sponsored by local businesses and corporations and the Illinois Department of Transportation, with no cost to schools to participate.