Lt. Eric Walker Governor's Highway Safety Program
Knott County Central High School Student Recognized By Kentucky State Police
Date of News Release: 03/21/2006
(LEXINGTON, KY) - Martin Patrick, a Knott County High School student from Emmalena, was recognized by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) at center court in Rupp Arena on March 18 at the semifinals of the Boy's Sweet Sixteen® Basketball Tournament.
As the top performer in KSP's "Drive To Stay Alive" program, Patrick received a $2,500 scholarship from the Kentucky Automobile Dealer's Association for his efforts in promoting highway safety and seat belt use among teenagers. His school received a $500 check from the Kentucky State Police Professional Association.
"I commend this young man for his noble efforts to help save lives," said KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. "Of the 985 people who died on Kentucky roadways last year, 101 were teen-agers. Sixty-three of these teens were not wearing seat belts. In order to reduce these needless deaths, we must educate our young people that the use of seat belts is one of the best defenses in a motor vehicle collision."
In October of 2005, Patrick joined 22 other high school students from 18 high schools throughout the state for the five-day "Drive To Stay Alive" 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.
The students were evaluated 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.
Patrick's winning effort included 61 highway safety presentations to students and more than 1,100 seat belt pledges signed.
According to Lt. Eric Walker, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program, the KSP branch that coordinates the Drive To Stay Alive Program, fifty-four of the state's 120 counties recorded teen driving fatalities in 2005.
"Jefferson County accounted for the most teen deaths with eight, followed by Laurel County with six and Taylor County with five. Warren, Bath and Bullitt counties had four each with Fayette, Hardin, Jessamine, Pike and Trigg reporting three each," he said. "Ballard, Butler, Campbell, Casey, Garrard, Grant, Hart, Kenton, Logan, Madison, Perry and Russell counties had two teen highway fatalities each with 31 other counties reporting one each."
"A closer look at the numbers is even more revealing," he adds. "Sixty-eight of the fatalities were male and 33 were female. Nineteen were 16 years old, 28 were 17 years old, 28 were 18 years old and 26 were 19 years old. Sixty of the fatalities were drivers of the vehicle, 38 were passengers and two were pedestrians."
"These statistics point out the need to make our roadways safer through graduated licensing programs, primary seat belt laws and training such as the Drive To Stay Alive course," notes Miller.
"Nationally, teenage driving fatalities are reaching epidemic levels," he adds. "According to the National Safety Council, nearly one out of every five fatalities involves a driver between 16 and 20 years of age. To reduce this loss of human potential, we must provide teens with practical guidance and driver training that will help them save their own lives as well as the lives of others on the road."
Patrick is the son of Patricia Short and stepson of Randal Slone, of Emmalena.