Leah Hansen is one of 14 certified instructors for LBCC’s Driver Education program. Each instructor has their own reason for teaching safe driving to teens, but Hansen’s reason is very personal.
“Teenagers are especially apt to drive drowsy because their lives are very full.”
Certified LBCC Driver Eduction Instructor
Before coming to LBCC, Hansen drove a Corvallis city bus for many years, and thought about becoming a driving instructor. It wasn’t until a fateful event nearly a decade ago that she found the motivation to teach.
In September 2009, Hansen’s former husband was leaving for work in Eastern Oregon. After driving almost 100 miles, and only 9 miles from his destination, he fell asleep at the wheel. His car crossed the center line and hit a truck pulling a trailer. He died on impact.
Hansen believes the long work hours combined with little sleep were factors in the fatal crash.
“Drowsy driving is the same as driving impaired,” said Hansen. ”Teenagers are especially apt to drive drowsy because their lives are very full.”
For more than 25 years, LBCC Community Education has held Driver Education classes in Linn and Benton counties. All LBCC courses are approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation-Traffic Safety Division.
With school, work, sports, homework and social obligations, teenagers need more sleep than most adults. Making sure her students understand the importance of staying alert while driving is a personal mission for Hansen.
Today, Hansen teaches her young students not only the rules of the road and safe vehicle operation, but also personal preparedness and the importance of staying alert while driving.
“My students watch a video about drowsy driving, and I show them the photos from the fatal crash,” said Hansen. “The response has been positive, and my students are more engaged because this is something that happened to someone they know, which is me.”“The OHP navigators helped students find out what they were eligible for, and helped them enroll,” said Stanley. “This term, we expanded the service to offer more sessions to help students with their health insurance needs.”