Last updated: May 07. 2014 2:04PM - 133 Views
By Lenny C. Lepola newsguy@ee.net

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The American Automobile Association, a.k.a. AAA, recently issued a press release noting that teenagers have the highest crash rate of any age group. In 2013, more than 27,000 teens experienced crashes in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In an effort to keep teens safe behind the wheel, last Tuesday, April 29, Big Walnut High School invited an AAA technician team to inspect student’s vehicles and discuss safe driving practices.

“Vehicle maintenance inspections are aimed at keeping students safe and on the go,” said Kimberly Schwind, Senior Public Relations Manager, AAA Ohio Auto Club. “During each inspection AAA technicians identify potential problems with student’s vehicle belts, hoses, tires, lights, fluid levels, and batteries. Then, technicians discuss any detected problems with the student and provide an inspection sheet to take home to parents.”

As an added bonus, student who signed up for the inspections each received a free one-year AAA membership.

“More than 70 students signed up to have their cars inspected, and we had some walk-ons once we got here,” said AAA Field Representative Ed Garlinger. “The students got a free lunch from a deli trailer, and it’s good PR for us.”

AAA Regional Sales Director Cindi Toll said her team visits about two schools each week. The PR is great, she said, but it’s really all about educating students about their cars.

“A lot of parents just give their children the keys, but many of them don’t know much about their cars,” Toll said. “We asked one girl today to turn on her bright lights and she didn’t know where they were at. We even had one vehicle today with no oil, none. We told that student not to take that car very far without getting oil.”

This is the second year of the AAA inspections at Big Walnut High School. Last year 83 percent of the vehicles inspected had at least one fault. The most common issues were with vehicle lubricants, tires and lights.

The Big Walnut High School vehicle maintenance inspection is part of a series of inspections taking place throughout AAA Ohio Auto Club’s territory this spring. The team went to Medina on Thursday, Lima the following week.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

AAA clubs can be visited online at < AAA.com >.

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