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TPR Lloyd Cochran
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 11, London
(606) 878-6622
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Pulaski County Teens Graduate From KSP "Drive To Stay Alive" Program

Date of News Release: 9/29/2004

Image of Capt. Bates with Ryan Biggerstaff & Joshua Steven Pence(FRANKFORT, KY) - - -Ryan Biggerstaff, a student at Pulaski County High School, and Joshua Steven Pence, a student at Somerset High School, graduated from the "Drive To Stay Alive" program sponsored by the Kentucky State Police on Sept. 24. The teens joined 21 other students from across the state who completed the training at the KSP Academy in Frankfort. Targeting counties with high teen traffic crash and fatality rates, the five-day program featured classroom and hands-on instruction designed to decrease teenage driving deaths.

"Tragically, in 2003, there were more than 25,700 motor vehicle collisions involving drivers aged 16-19 in Kentucky," says KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. "This represents 20 percent of all collisions in the state during this time period. The "Drive To Stay Alive" program is specifically designed to have an impact on this problem."

During the week of training, the students were taught by Kentucky State Police driving instructors to help recognize the most common factors leading to fatal crashes. The curriculum featured topics such as vehicle dynamics and skid control, safety belts and airbags, impaired driving, off-road recovery, evasive maneuver, controlled braking, multiple turns and lane interchange. It also included three days of hands-on instruction in actual motor vehicle skills at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

Biggerstaff and Pence said the training taught them the importance of using steering rather than braking to keep a car under control. "I learned that you have a chance of driving out of almost any difficult situation, if you don't panic," said Biggerstaff. "Faster driving doesn't always get you there faster," added Pence. "Slower and smoother will mostly likely get you there at the same time, while saving gas as well." Their advice to fellow students? "Wear your seat belt, don't panic and don't drink and drive."

According to Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the KSP Governor's Highway Safety Program, the real benefits of the program begin after the students complete the course and return to their individual schools. "The students will partner with an experienced Kentucky State Police trooper to spread the message to the student body in each school," she notes. "The real value of the 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."

Trooper Craig Sutton, public affairs officer at the KSP London post, will team up with Biggerstaff and Pence to help convey their newly acquired driving skills and knowledge to fellow students.

Rudzinski pointed out that 14 percent of all fatal collisions in the state during 2003 involved teenage drivers. "This program provides practical instruction that will enhance the skills and sensitivities of Kentucky's teen drivers," she says. "Once it spreads throughout the school system, the benefits should certainly pay off in reduced teen crashes and more lives saved."

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