Steamboat Springs The Colorado State Patrol is offering the first program in the nation geared to teach young drivers how to steer through snow-packed and icy roads safely.
To implement the pilot program, "Cruise Control," the state agency is partnering with a Steamboat Springs winter driving school.
On Jan. 26 and Feb. 16, the State Patrol will conduct its new program at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, which is owned by Rally Art Organization.
For each of the first two sessions, which are geared for drivers between the ages of 15 and 24, there are 24 slots available, said Trooper Brad Keadle, who initiated the new program.
"This is the first program of its type in the nation," Keadle said.
Keadle, who has been working closely on the program for about a year with driving school officials, proposed the program to reduce the number of accidents involving youths.
"Accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for youths between the ages of 15 and 24," Keadle said.
The first two training sessions will be watched closely by the State Patrol's brass. The two sessions will help the State Patrol determine the feasibility of conducting other courses across the state in the future.
"The goal of Cruise Control is to reduce the total number of youth accidents by developing a fun, hands-on dynamic driving experience," said Col. Lonnie Westphal, chief of the State Patrol.
The course will "teach young drivers about the fundamentals of proper driving and how driving is affected by various elements inside and outside the vehicle."
The cost of the one-day training is $175 per students, which includes lunch. Those who attend the training will get four hours of classroom direction and then four hours of actual driving experience at the driving school's two ice courses, which are located on the Stanko Ranch off County Road 33.
Students will be taught how to maintain control of a vehicle as road conditions change, as well as how to regain control if the vehicle begins to skid.