TUPELO • Learning to drive safely should be on every teen’s to-do list when the time comes to get a driver’s license.

And continuing safe-driving habits should remain a priority each time young drivers – and drivers of every age – get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States.

To help keep driving safety fresh on their minds, State Farm is offering, at no charge, Street Defensive Driving Teen Driver Education Class, in which teen drivers can learn – or be reminded of – the fundamental rules of safe driving.

The day-long class will be from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at Universal Asset Management at Tupelo Regional Airport, 118 Lemons Drive in Tupelo. Lunch will be provided.

“There will be lots of classroom interaction in the morning and lots of driving in the afternoon, said Rob Rice, a State Farm agent in Tupelo. “We have a wonderful instructor who is great with kids.”

The program is open to any teenager who has a learner’s permit or driver’s license, not just those whose families are insured by State Farm.

Those with permits must have basic driving skills. And all participants must bring to class a vehicle and proof of insurance.

Siblings may attend with a single vehicle, but vehicles may not be shared by non-family members. Parents may attend, but it is not required.

There is a 30-person limit so interested young drivers should register as soon as possible for the program by calling any State Farm office.

As part of the day’s schedule, students will learn safe driving techniques, car maintenance tips, driving rules and regulations, especially those specific to Mississippi, and driver responsibility information.

The Street’s Defensive Driving School, which will be available in other areas of the state on various dates, is made possible through State Farm’s Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant program, which provides a $15,000 grant to offer these classes.

“State Farm has a foundation of a very community-minded mission,” Rice said. “If through these safe driving schools we can save one life or prevent one injury, we will have been successful at having a profound influence on the community.

“If we can help a younger, less experienced driver to become a safer, wiser driver, we will have accomplished our mission.”

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