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Autistic driver safety is focus of Saturday event

Posted: September 13, 2012 6:43 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:43 p.m.

Local organizations have partnered with State Farm Insurance in Santa Clarita to bring Celebrate My Drive, a nationwide teen driving safety event, to College of the Canyons for a special focus on autistic driver safety.

Tierra del Sol Foundation, a Sunland organization that serves people with disabilities, will host driving safety games, quizzes, presentations and activities to provide structured driver training on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. State Farm will provide laptops and iPads as giveaways.

Tierra del Sol regularly provides a driver safety program, as well as a variety of other services that enable disabled individuals to attend college, work in the community, work with animals, create art and lead more independent lives, said Susan Chapman, Tierra del Sol’s media representative.

Though little is known about the effects of autism on a person’s ability to drive, the increasing number of people with autism is creating a demand for structured driving education programs, Chapman said.

Young drivers with autism have had lower rates of tickets and accidents than teen drivers without disabilities, said Steve Miller, executive director of Tierra del Sol.

“Typically people with autism are going to obey the rules,” Miller said.

Autistic individuals can learn required basic skills through structured programs because they generally abide by rules, Miller said.

Providing autistic drivers with a thorough understanding of driving laws and roadside safety ensures safer driving, Miller said.

“We decided to bring this event to Santa Clarita because State Farm was donating grants across the nation to bring awareness to teen driver’s safety,” Rodriguez said.

State Farm will give away 14 new cars and 14 $100,000 school grants to participants who register online for Celebrate My Drive.

Bridges to Ability Foundation, Southern California Edison and Union Bank of California are also sponsoring.

“We support them from start to finish,” Chris Clark, chief development officer for Tierra del Sol said.




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