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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

Bedford Teen And Trimble County High School Recognized By Kentucky State Police For Highway Safety Efforts

(FRANKFORT, KY) - Trimble County High School and one of its students were honored at center court in front of thousands of fans gathered to watch the semi-finals of the Boy´s Sweet Sixteen Tournament in Rupp Arena Saturday.

The student, Bedford resident Casie Webster, and the school were recognized for their efforts in promoting highway safety among teenagers. Webster received a $500 scholarship from the Kentucky State Police Professional Association. The school received a $2,500 check from the Kentucky Automobile Dealer´s Association.

"Like many states, Kentucky has experienced an over-representation of drivers aged 16 to 19 involved in crashes, especially fatal crashes, where seat belts were not in use and impaired driving was a factor," says KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. "This student and school made an outstanding effort to communicate with students about these needless deaths and provide practical training that can be put to use in every-day driving situations. They should be highly commended for their dedication to highway safety. Their efforts will help to save lives."

According to KSP Capt. Brad Bates, commander of the Governor´s Highway Safety Program, in 2002 drivers aged 16 to 19 made up only six percent of the state´s licensed drivers. However, they were involved in 29, 893 motor vehicle collisions. That represents 21 percent of all collisions, 23 percent of all injury collisions and 19 percent of all fatal collisions in Kentucky. "Among this age group, there were also 684 drivers involved in alcohol-related collisions, including 25 fatal collisions in which 12 of the teen drivers died," he notes.

The awards were a part of the "Drive To Stay Alive" program sponsored by the Governor´s Highway Safety Program and the Kentucky State Police. In September of 2003, Webster joined 23 other high school students from 21 different schools throughout the state for the week-long training program in Frankfort. Certified driving instructors from the Kentucky State Police Academy provided the training. The course included topics such as vehicle dynamics and skid control, safety belts and airbags, impaired driving, off-road recovery, evasive maneuvering, controlled braking, multiple turns and lane interchange. The students also received three days of hands-on driving instruction at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

After completing the course, the students were provided with educational materials and programs for use in presentations to their fellow students in their home school districts. They were also partnered with a trooper from one of KSP´s 16 posts throughout the state to assist them.

Webster and Trimble Co. High School ranked highest of all the students and schools participating in the program. They scored points based on the number of programs presented, seat belt pledges signed, media interviews and stories generated, increased use of seat belts observed on school grounds and other activities emphasizing highway safety.

"Casie participated in 25 to 30 presentations," reports her partner, Trooper Greg Larimore, public affairs officer at KSP Post 5 in Campbellsburg. "The school increased its seatbelt usage among students from 54 percent to 72 percent by the end of the program," he says. "These strong results are certainly encouraging. The use of seat belts is one of the best defenses in a collision."

"The real value of the Drive To Stay Alive program is based on the concept that a message conveyed by a fellow student carries a more personal tone with other students and is therefore more effective," explains Bates. "We hope to continue the program this fall. Once it spreads throughout the school system, the benefits should pay off in reduced teen crashes and more lives saved."

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