LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — At least five teens have died on Las Vegas valley roads in the past two weeks. However, this past weekend, driving instructors at the Las Vegas Speedway were teaching teens defensive driving skills.

“They did emphasize breathing and staying calm during situations, and also where you look is where you’re going to go,” Xander Luber-Decena, 17, said. He was participating in Driver’s Edge.

This program offers a safe place where cars can screech and hydroplane without the consequences of a bad wreck, or worse, losing one’s life.

That appealed to Luber-Decena’s father Ralph.

“I think we need to get the word out to more people, have more of our young drivers to participate,” Ralph Decena said.

Jeff Payne is the founder and chief executive officer of Driver’s Edge and says he would love to expand it.

Payne added that he had around 800 children on a waiting list for this weekend’s sessions, which started on Friday and ended on Sunday.

“Everyone thinks they’re a good driver, no one takes it as seriously as they should,” Payne said. “A vehicle is a weapon. We kill over 40,000 people a year in car crashes.”

Driver’s Edge is in its 22nd year but seems more important than before.

Data from the Nevada Department of Public Safety shows 47 people died as of Feb. 29 on Clark County roads.

On Saturday, two teens were killed in a four-car wreck on Pecos and Hacienda, making them the 36th and 37th traffic-related death in Metro’s jurisdiction so far this year.

“If you look at this scene, it’s utter devastation. The vehicle is completely split in half,” LVMPD Sgt. Stuart Richmond said in a video posted on “X” Saturday. “This vehicle ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. They weren’t seat belted in and once it collided with the pole here, this is the result.”

A few of the things that organizers wanted to emphasize to participants are to be fully present behind the wheel, and to eliminate any and all distractions, which means ignoring cell phones.

“My job is to look and steer where I want the entire car to go,” Andrew Shoen, an instructor, demonstrated.

“I’m looking and I’m steering, and then I straighten my wheel out. My hands are told where to go precisely by my eyes looking there,” Shoen said as he showed an example of what one should do if a car skids.

Driver’s Edge will return on April 5th for those who missed out this weekend.

Click here to register for Driver’s Edge.



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