County (employees) face hazard every time they get behind the wheel at work. The Texas Association of Counties (TAC) is helping reduce those risks through its innovative driving simulator.

In the course of three days, Jim Wells County Sheriff employees, from the sheriff to the jailers, participated in the driving simulator course.

"My goal is to use the driving simulator to reduce cost to the county by reducing collisions and injuries to county drivers," said Don Courtney, driving simulator consultant with TAC.

TAC's driving simulator creates real-world driving conditions in a high-tech environment that replicates situations drivers may actually encounter while on the road. Since its launch in 2000, more than 8,4000 county drivers in three-quarters of the state's counties have used it to enhance their ability to make life-saving, split-second decisions in often dangerous driving conditions.

"Studies have shown that driver-training programs effectively reduce risks while educating drivers on safe-driving measures," Courtney said. "Even professional drivers can slip into bad habits behind the wheel. The simulator training reinforces good driving habits that help improve employee safety and make them better prepared for the unexpected."

TAC's simulator has logged more than 200,000 miles traveling across the state and training drivers at no cost to the counties. For more information on the driving simulator and other services TAC provides to counties, visit county.org.