A special day for new drivers in Northfield

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Northfield Police Sgt. Paul Newman fields questions from Northfield resident Felicia Nevins along with the “Shore Girls” – Carol Pacentrilli, 17, of Ventnor, and Adina Lowenstein, also 17 and from Northfield. Northfield Police Sgt. Paul Newman fields questions from Northfield resident Felicia Nevins along with the “Shore Girls” – Carol Pacentrilli, 17, of Ventnor, and Adina Lowenstein, also 17 and from Northfield.

NORTHFIELD – A beautiful afternoon brought out plenty of new drivers and their parents for the first ever “Celebrate My Drive” event at Yogurt Swirls on Tilton Road.

Coordinated by the Northfield Police Department with help from a $2,500 grant from the State Farm Insurance Co., it was a friendly gathering with police, the high school and State Farm all working to keep new drivers safe on the road.

The event underscored just how important it is for teens and their parents to know the rules of the road and to help new drivers understand that the privilege of driving comes with an equal part of responsibility.

State Farm has the statistics that bear out the effectiveness of educational initiatives like the Celebrate My Drive program in helping teens understand their responsibility to be safe and responsible new drivers, according to Dave Phillips, spokesman for State Farm.  

City Councilman Steve Vain was there Saturday with his daughter Ali, 16, who just got her driver’s permit.

“I am really proud of Northfield for taking the initiative to do whatever they can to help prevent teen accidents,” said Vain.

Teens were shown the proper way to wear a seat belt to keep them safe in case of an accident. They learned about traffic violations and what a ticket would cost them if they are caught speeding, texting, ($130) and if they are stopped and do not have the proper credentials from Donna Clark, municipal court clerk in Linwood and Northfield. Shore EMS was on hand along with Northfield Police Officers Paul Newman and Bill VanPelt to answer questions.

George Siganos, owner of Yogurt Swirls, offered the police the use of his parking lot and his shop to impart the important message that it’s a big deal to be a smart driver, not a distracted driver.

Police Capt. Art Faden was giving out gas cards to some of the first new drivers to arrive and once they stepped inside Yogurt Swirls the teens could enjoy a sundae; all on the house.

Stan Malcolm of Linwood, a State Farm broker, was wearing a T-shirt that said, “own every mile.”

Malcolm said the shirt is part of State Farm’s mantra that drivers need to understand that when they get behind the wheel of a car, it is a responsibility. The agent said State Farm puts a great deal of stock in preparing drivers and giving them the best information possible as they begin to drive.

Sgt. Paul Newman said, “We want to prepare our new drivers as best we can and give them all of the best information that we can. If the information we give kids here today saves even one of them from a serious accident, it will certainly be worth it.”

  NF drive 1 0920 Ali Vain, 16, of Northfield is shown the proper way to wear a seatbelt by Wayne Shelton of the South Jersey Traffic Alliance Saturday afternoon in Northfield.


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