Parents Curb Dangerous Teen Driving After Tragedy

Parents Curb Dangerous Teen Driving After TragedyABC News
After Son's Tragic Death, Parents Help Send Students to Intense Driving Instruction Programs

Tracy Youngs can remember with terrifying clarity the day her son was taken from her nearly three years ago.

"There was a police car and flashing lights," Tracy said through tears. "I waited and waited and two officers came up and said he didn't make it."

Her son, Christopher Caiazzo, was 16 years old when he came around a corner in upstate New York just a little too fast, lost control of the car and slid into a boulder just off the road.

One mistake and friends of the popular baseball player went from joking around with Christopher in school to leaving mementos on the side of the road, a few feet from where he died.

VIDEO: A family who lost its son helps to protect other kids on the road.Play

Christopher was one of the approximately 5,000 teenagers killed every year in auto accidents -- a number Christopher's parents are determined to lower in his memory.

Tracy and Chistopher's father, Chris Caiazzo, created a foundation to help send teenage drivers to intensive driving courses to teach them how to handle vehicles at high speeds.

Some driving schools, like the Skip Barber Racing School in Lakeville, Conn., offer discounts on intensive driving courses for teens. Whatever cost is left over is split between the students and the Caiazzo's foundation.

"We take them to a new level, where they become much more proactive," said Michael Culver, chairman and CEO at Skip Barber Racing School. "They're much more sensitive about what could go wrong. So when they're driving, they are proactive, but they are thinking defensively."

Youngs and Caiazzo have funded three sessions and more than 200 students have taken the course.

Click here for additional information to help keep your teenager driving safely.

Course Opens Teens' Eyes

Critics of the classes argue that they teach teens the skills that encourage them to drive faster, but according to senior instructor Walter Irvine, it's all about safety.

"There's an element of, they need to be responsible now with texting and all the things there in the peripheral to take away from your ability to focus on driving," Irvine said. "Our main trump card is that we teach based on the law of physics. So we're not teaching them to drive a Mazda or any vehicle in particular, we're giving them the skill set to take away that will allow them to drive anything."

After a few hair-raising laps around the course, 17-year-old Kelly Flattery, said the experience was an eye-opener.

"I am not as good as I really thought I was at all," Flattery said. "It, like, puts your ego in check."

To the Caiazzos, if just a couple teens drive safer then their effort is worth it.

"What we're doing is making sure, to the best we're able to make sure, no other parent goes through this loss," Chris Caiazzo said.

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