Wolfson students gain driving experience through virtual technology

Wolfson students gain driving experience through virtual technology
A Wolfson student drives the Apex Virtual Vehicle© under the watchful eye of driving instructor Trish Johnson.

State-wide budget cuts had called for Samuel W. Wolfson School for Advanced International Studies and Leadership to eliminate driver’s education from its curriculum this year, but thanks to the generosity of a Jacksonville law firm, students will be able to get hands-on driving experience through virtual technology.

Coker Law, a firm of personal injury trial lawyers, is partnering with Wolfson High by donating an Apex Virtual Vehicle© so that students who are working on or have received their learner’s permit can practice safe-driving techniques without the danger of being on the road.

The Apex Virtual Vehicle will be the only source of driver’s education available at the school and comes at no charge to the students at Samuel W. Wolfson High School, said Principal Christopher Begley. “Unfortunately, with the budget cuts we’re facing across the state, our driver’s education normally held during the school day for the 2018-2019 year has been cut. So, for an organization like Coker Law to step in and provide this level of technology for our students, through its Safer Streets Through Smarter Driver’s campaign, is truly lifesaving and very appreciated.”

Trish Johnson gives a Wolfson student driving instruction on the Apex Virtual Vehicle©, a gift donated to the school by the Coker Law firm.

Trish Johnson gives a Wolfson student driving instruction on the Apex Virtual Vehicle©,
a gift donated to the school by the Coker Law firm.

Coker Law is committed to promoting safety within the First Coast by investing in Safer Streets Through Smarter Drivers program, which will target approximately 125 ninth-grade students at Wolfson High School. In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 21-27), the law firm is partnering with Wolfson and the Apex Resource Center to bring cutting-edge driver’s education to its youngest student drivers.

“Every day at Coker Law, we hear about crashes caused by drivers who made bad decisions behind the wheel,” said Coker Law Partner Matthew Posgay. “Our goal is to teach safe and smart driving techniques from the very start in order to prevent these tragedies from happening.”

The Apex Virtual Vehicle was developed by former competitive racer and now Driver Safety Educator Trish Johnson, who has successfully trained more than 12,000 drivers and developed training programs for an array of driving abilities and vehicles. “The Apex Virtual Vehicle training technology was designed to fill that dangerous skill gap when young people are legally able to begin driving, but don’t have the skills to be safe on the roads,” said Johnson. “The driver is interacting with the learning experience, but their mistakes are not going to be tragic or devastating.”

To kick off Teen Drive Safety Week, the virtual vehicle will be unveiled Friday, Oct. 19 at Wolfson in a classroom used largely for virtual and online learning. An instructor will provide course instruction and evaluation to students using the vehicle, and students will also be able to utilize a self-directed tutorial program through headsets.

For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and safe driving tips for teens, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving. 

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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