Driving is something in Oklahoma that is a given. You drive every day, sometimes forgetting that you are in control of a machine that could be the difference between life and death.
This is something Kent Sexton, owner and instructor of Southwest Oklahoma Driving School, hopes to instill in his students and has partnered with local first responders to drive the message home.
Sexton said he put himself through college to be an educator by working in law enforcement.
“During that time, I pulled a lot of kids off the road, deceased from wrecks,” he said. “When I finished up I taught drivers education while I was teaching and coaching. I always said one of these days I was going to open my own driving school. What I always told people ‘It’s the only class in school you can lose you life in’ so I took it a little more serious.”
By putting the educator and the law enforcement together Sexton created these driving camps for his students showing them the other parts of driving, what to do when you're pulled over, if you are in a wreck what the firefighters, EMT or even mediflights do.
He does this with the help of local first responders like Duncan Police, Duncan Fire and AMR.
First, the students did a mock pull over with Duncan Police. Then, the Duncan Fire Department pretended to rescue a crash victim with jaws of life.
Sexton said the car was donated and was from a texting and driving accident.
“We do it a little different. We bring all the emergency personal in to talk and show them,” he said. “It just brings what we talk about on videos together because they see exactly what happens when they are texting and driving or drinking and driving.”
Showing his students that while behind the wheel they are responsible for what happens is important for Sexton.
“It just take seconds for a mistake to take somebody’s life in your car or somebody else’s car,” he said. “I always use this phrase ‘You are the captain of the ship and what happens to the captain of the ship when it goes down?’ Well he goes down with it — if you’re driving and there is alcohol or drugs in it, guess who’s going down. You can kill someone because you were negligent … they don’t realize that.”
Dayton Burnside, Duncan Fire Department, said the fire department was glad to take part.
“We like to be very involved with everything with the kids and educate them on the proper safety in the operation of a vehicle and not be distracted while driving,” he said. “Letting them see hands on the danger that is involved with it.”
Burnside said he didn’t even know the number of accidents the Fire Department helps with which involve a cell phone, he said it was just “too many.”
“We look forward to it and we enjoy being invited to these events,” he said. “We also want to take part and be part of the community and educating our youth and everyone with safe driving practices.”
For more information about Southwest Oklahoma Driving School call 580-512-6936 or email SwOkDrivingSchool@gmail.com.