Students take part in safe-driving event

BROOKVILLE — Friday, 21 students from seven school districts in Jefferson and Clarion counties took part in the 2012 Clar-Jeff Safe Driving Competition at the Heritage House in Brookville.

The students were tested on perceptual driving, behind-the-wheel skills, Pennsylvania driving laws and vehicle defects.

“The intent of the safe driving competition is to make better drivers, and to make them aware of their limitations,” Shawn Houck, safety press officer for PennDOT District 10 said. “Hopefully, these young adults will take that back with them and share their experience from today with other high school students that couldn’t be here.”

According to Houck, the students were put through five different driving skills stations specifically designed for them to judge clearance and space under a controlled atmosphere. Each student received a score based on his or her ability to control that space.

In addition to the competition phases, the students observed a truck safety demonstration from Barber Trucking and took part in a perception reaction program, where they had to answer questions about a series of slides with different driving scenarios.

“This helps to establish better drivers by putting them into events that they wouldn’t encounter on the highway every day, and while under safe conditions,” Houck said. “Putting safer drivers on the highway is the reason we’re here.”

Ross Munsee, a senior at Clarion-Limestone High School, won first place and received a $1,000 scholarship.

Munsee is now eligible to compete for a $5,000 scholarship at the Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association’s (PMTA) Pennsylvania Safe Driving Competition for Youth next month in Camp Hill.

Cody Alvetro, a student at Brockway High School, was awarded the second-place prize of $500, and Wyatt Long, a student at Brookville Jr.-Sr. High School, was awarded the third-place prize of $250.

Clarion-Limestone High School earned the 2012 Clar-Jeff Safe Driving Competition Traveling Trophy after receiving the combined highest score in all categories. The title was held previously by Brookville Jr.-Sr. High School.

All participants also received a safety kit for their cars, which included jumper cables, flares and flashlights.

“We heard many positive comments from the students who enjoyed matching their knowledge of the Pennsylvania driving laws and sharpening their skills that they will use every day of their lives,” event coordinator Bevi Powell said.

In addition to event sponsorship from Clarion County Sheriff Rex Munsee and Jefferson County Sheriff Carl Gotwald, sponsors of the event also included The Allstate Foundation, Children’s Hospital of UPMC, AAA, Wal-Mart, Heritage House, Kelly Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Kiwanis Club of Clarion, Irwin Printing, New Bethlehem Lions Club, David Jones Allstate Insurance, Mike’s Supermarket and PennDOT.

“The community rallied together to support this event with their generous donations of time and funds,” Gotwald said.

Powell agreed. The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company brought its newest truck to the event, and the Department of Emergency Services brought its mobile command unit.

“The community support and all of the different displays was a very nice touch,” she said.

For more information, contact Powell at 724-357-4877 or