UNK Today | August 2014 - page 66

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE COMPLETION
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1 4
2400 Central Ave • Kearney, NE
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Keeping Neb. safe
UNK Safety Center teaches the proper operation of all types of vehicles
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MOBILE BANKING
By KIM SCHMIDT
Hub Staff Writer
KEARNEY —Whether
it’s on a bike, on the farm or
driving down the street, the
University of Nebraska at Kear-
ney’s Safety Center has had a
hand in keeping Nebraskans
safe for 36 years.
The center
provides classes
in safety educa-
tion, seminars
and workshops
and research,
and it coordi-
nates statewide
programs. Since
its inception
in 1978, when
the Nebraska
Safety Center
was established by the Nebras-
ka Legislature, the center has
taught safety skills to thousands
of Nebraskans.
In the beginning, center
Executive Director Mick
Anderson said, the purpose and
function centered on traffic,
industrial, home, fire and rec-
reational safety. The center has
added occupational, consumer
and agricultural/transportation
safety.
In 1981, the center’s 20-acre
driving range, The Ron and
Carol Cope Nebraska Cen-
ter for Safety Education and
Research, was developed in
west Kearney along North Rail-
road Street. It is the location
of most of the traffic safety
activities.
In addition to driver’s
education, Anderson said, the
facility provides CDL test-
ing and mine safety training,
the Safety Training Option
Program, evaluations for
medically challenged drivers,
pupil transportation, Passenger
Awareness, Safety & Sensitivi-
ty training, and safety consulta-
tion services.
The center has three sizes of
all-terrain vehicles it takes on
the road to satellite locations to
teach driver safety. A popular
training tool at the center is
the mobile driving simulator,
which is designed to give driv-
ers a feel for different real-life
situations. The center has 12
simulators at the driving range.
“With computers today, we
can really dictate the weather,
obstacles on the road, distract-
ed driving, the
interstate, town
driving, off-road
recovery, differ-
ent parking. It’s
unique because
there are only
a couple in the
country that offer
hands-on driving
in a controlled
environment,”
Anderson said.
Three years ago, the center
purchased two semitrailer
trucks to use to train and test
over-the-road drivers in a one-
on-one setting.
“It’s really picked up,”
Anderson said of the classes.
“They need truckers right now.
Both trucks are going every day
almost.”
Anderson estimates the cen-
ter trains 7,500 to 10,000 peo-
ple each year. Some programs
are free, but others carry a fee.
Earlier this year, the Safety
Center received a $639,329
grant to train more than 1,000
drivers from transportation,
bus and transit companies
across the state. The three-year
grant from the state Depart-
ment of Roads is being used to
train drivers about defensive
driving; passenger awareness,
safety and sensitivity; CPR
and first aid; emergency proce-
dures; distracted driving; and
other areas.
The training program’s first
phase started in January and
will be completed sometime
this month. Second and third
phases will occur in the follow-
ing two years.
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The center provides
classes in safety
education, seminars
and workshops and
research, and it
coordinates statewide
programs.
UNK’S
SAFETY
CENTER
has three
semitrail-
er trucks
similar to
this one
they use
to train
over-
the-road
drivers.
INSTRUCTOR SHELDON
, right, watches as students use
the mobile driving simulator, which gives drivers a feel for
real-life situations.
SAFETY CENTER
instructor Jeremy Sheldon teaches young ATV
drivers the right techniques to drive. The center has three sizes of
ATVs they take throughout the state to teach driver safety.
Courtesy
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