Driving course continues a father’s efforts for teen safety
by Joel Danoy
Jan 18, 2013 | 4828 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the sixth year, Ken Ucci is using the tragic loss of his son as a way to teach local teenagers about safe driving habits and the dangers they face each time they are behind the wheel.

His son, Mike, died on Jan. 27, 2007, when the vehicle in which he was riding slammed into a traffic signal pole at the entrance to West High School. The 17-year-old was a passenger in the vehicle of his best friend, Bret Clifton, with two other passengers, including his sister, who were all injured in the crash.

“I just remember being in the hospital that night thinking how I could prevent parents from experiencing what I’m feeling,” Ken Ucci said.

He got involved with the teen driving safety program Get Real Behind the Wheel and started a local chapter in Tracy.

On Jan. 27, the anniversary of his son’s death, Ken Ucci and the group will host a safe-driving training course at Altamont Raceway Park at 17001 Midway Road.

The course includes a safe-driving class and driving time on the racetrack.

Classes emphasize proper driving techniques and talk about the importance of a positive relationship between parents and their teen drivers.

“I didn’t have a strategy plan when my kids were growing up, and after doing this for five years, I’ve learned that most parents don’t, either,” Ken Ucci said. “We’re going to teach the concerns of distracted drivers and what it means for your teen driver to be accountable when following parental rules.”

The program is open to teens 14 to 19 years old with their parents. Young drivers use their own vehicles. New participants should arrive at 9 a.m. for orientation. Returning students can arrive at 11 a.m.

Ken Ucci expects about 50 kids to participate and said the program will last until 2 p.m.

“We want the kids to come and see what it’s like to drive and get a feel for a car,” he said. “They need to understand that in a split second you can lose control of the car and seriously hurt or kill yourself or someone else.”

For information: www.getrealbehindthewheel.com

• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or jdanoy@tracypress.com.
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sdsailer
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January 29, 2013
I attended this event last Sunday with my daughter who will soon be starting her driving permit process. This was the first time she actually had been behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. It was a great experience and a great event. The Altamont Raceway provides a perfect venue for novice drivers to get the feel of a motor vehicle. My thanks to Ken Ucci and his staff of volunteers for their dedication to this cause. Our heart goes out to the Ucci family and certainly Mike’s memory will live on with such a fine event like this. I recommend all teenagers coming of driving age attend this event. Well done and thank you!


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