Julianna Brunnet, a Cadette Girl Scout with Troop 70474 of Brook Park, earned the Girl Scout Silver Award. Julianna organized and ran a program for Teen Driver Awareness held at the Brook Park Library. Girl Scouts and their leaders from three different troops attended the event.
The first guest speaker was Scott Birch, an automotive repair technician with Valley Ford. He discussed the car care and maintenance. "Changing the oil is probably the most important thing you can do to improve the life of your car," said Scott. He explained how costly auto repairs can become without preventative maintenance. He also demonstrated how to check tire pressure and tire depth with a penny. Each participant received a free tire gauge.
The next guest speaker was Melissa Citovic-Vukotic, a State Farm Insurance agent. She gave participants a book from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) on the requirements of obtaining a driver's license. Melissa explained minimum insurance requirements and the cost of a teen driver. "It can range from $1100-$1400 annually," said Melissa. "There are variables such as your grades, the type of vehicle you drive, and if you are a part-time or full-time driver - all of this affects your rates."
The final guest speaker was retired Brook Park Police Officer Fred Szabo. He spoke about being responsible behind the wheel of a car as well as being a responsible passenger. "Never get into a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs," said Officer Szabo. "For that matter, don't let them drive either. Call someone to come and get you instead." He also stressed the importance of wearing seat belts. "Statistics prove that wearing seat belts save lives. In all my years on the force, and all the accidents I have had to investigate, there were only two accidents that there may have been a chance of survival if they didn't wear their seat belts ... only two." Officer Szabo also stressed the importance of paying attention while driving - not to talk on cell phones or mess with radio stations. "All of these are distractions."
The program wrapped up with each girl receiving a coupon for a free oil change from Transmission World. Auto Repair Technology, O'Reilley's and Advance Auto Parts also donated raffle items.
"Overall, I think the program was a success," said Julianna. "I wanted Girl Scouts who attended to realize that responsibilities involved with getting your driver's license. Driving is a privilege, and it is something that shouldn't be taken for granted."
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