On December 28, 2006 the Massachusetts House signed into law House Bill H 5378 which incorporated SCARR into the new Junior Operator Law effective March 31, 2007. Young drivers face more serious consequences for certain first offense motor vehicle violations. Their right to operate is suspended for 90 days and they are required to attend the SCARR program, along with other penalties, before their right to operate can be reinstated. These junior operators are now being folded into the classes offered throughout the state.
The SCARR program's primary components are designed to:
- Make attendees confront the behavior that got them into the class and open up a dialogue on how to change that behavior.
- Provide compelling visual images that demonstrate the serious consequences of irresponsible and dangerous driving.
- Provide statistics and information that would educate drivers on the best methods for handling and preventing dangerous driving scenarios and promote seat belt use.
Prior to class, attendees are required to write a brief synopsis identifying what they did that resulted in their having to attend the class. Sergeant Eubanks reviews these statements in conjunction with the police reports and criminal and driver motor vehicle histories relating to each attendee's record to determine the level of responsibility being acknowledged.
The second component of the class is more visual. Using actual footage that was shot from on-board cameras in unmarked State Police cruisers, Sergeant Eubanks developed an educational video that provides a birds eye view of what it is like to observe an aggressive driver on the road and to see how that driver is endangering others as well as themselves. The video also includes visual images of how a body reacts in a motor vehicle crash and provides statistics and information that educate drivers in areas such as the time it takes to react to situations on the road, stopping distances at various speeds and the economic consequences of dangerous driving.
The attendees are also shown a video of an arraignment of a teenage girl charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and motor vehicle homicide. This defendant has since served jail time and has been utilized as a guest speaker for the course. A variety of guest speakers are used to share their personal experience and relate the consequences of reckless and irresponsible driving. These testimonials are very emotional and compelling and have a strong impact on the class members.
Sergeant Eubanks also focuses on providing the attendees with practical and useful tips they can employ to correct their behavior and prevent injury to themselves and others. These include:
- Seat belt use and how it can dramatically improve the outcome of a motor vehicle crash.
- Instruction on what to do if faced with a harassing driver.
- Tips for controlling your own frustration and reactions in aggressive driving situations.
Attendees come away with useful information that they can implement immediately to protect themselves and others on the road. At the conclusion of the class, participants are required to complete a survey about the program and they receive a certificate of completion.
The goal of the SCARR program continues to be to improve driver behavior through facilitating a more educated, responsible driver.
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