In late June, Milton's Municipal Court launched the Teen Victim Impact Program, an educational initiative to reduce teen traffic violations and death in car crashes.
Drivers under 21 accused of traffic violations in the city may now attend the two-hour Teen Victim Impact Program in lieu of the six-hour defensive driving course traditionally offered to reduce driver's license point deductions.
Any Milton resident or their child may also take the course for no cost any time it is offered.
Classes are held monthly and more information can be found on the initiative's website.
The Teen Victim Impact Program is designed to give judges an educational initiative in lieu of or in addition to fines and probation. It was developed in 2006 and is used by a number of court systems in the metro Atlanta area.
The objective, say its creators, is to get rid of the "It won't happen to me" mindset and reinforce the need to wear seat belts.
The program contains:
- Real-life stories of teens killed in car crashes, including the cause of the crash and how it could have been prevented
- A texting video
- Seatbelt videos
- A teen car crash victim or family of a victim share their story
- A question and answer session
Though the class is shorter, it is a much more harrowing session, said Clerk of Court Brooke Lappin. At the first session, Milton Police Chief Deborah Harrell was brought to tears by the stories.
"This has more real-life applications, and we felt it would be much more successful," said Lappin.
Milton Chief Judge Brian Hansford brought the program to Milton after learning of its success in reducing teen fatalities in other jurisdictions. Plans are underway to implement the same program in the Roswell Municipal Court, where he also presides.
"I believe the court's mission with young drivers is not necessarily to punish, but to preserve lives. I hope this program catches on in all of North Fulton and that more young lives can be saved" he said. "Something this real can help prevent future fatalities."