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Carter County High School Student Selected For KSP's 'Drive To Stay Alive' Program

Date of News Release: 10/10/08

An image of Ace receiving his D2SA Graduation Certificate from KSP Captain Tim Lucas, click here to enlarge in a new window(FRANKFORT, Ky.) West Carter High School Student, Ace Puckett was among twenty-seven students throughout the state selected by Kentucky State Police to participate in the 'Drive to Stay Alive' program. The program ran from September 28 - October 1, 2008 and was held at the KSP Training Academy in Frankfort and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

The 'Drive to Stay Alive' program teaches the students safe driving techniques by KSP instructors with hands-on road driving and classroom exercises, including the dangers of driving impaired, seat belt safety, distracted and aggressive driving.

Mr. Puckett is a junior at WCHS and the son of Donald and Sherry Puckett in Olive Hill. He is excited to bring the message that he learned from KSP back to Rowan couty.

"I really liked this program because it showed me some eye opening statistics," said Puckett. "I also learned new driving skills. The best part was meeting teens from across the state."

Tim Lucas, Commander for the KSP Highway Safety Branch explained that the 'Drive To Stay Alive' program was designed not only to decrease teen crashes but to provide students with the tools to be advocates in their own communities.

"The training includes topics such as collision causation, vehicle dynamics and skid control, backing skills, multiple turns and lane interchange, safety belts and air bags, evasive maneuvers, off-road recovery, and controlled braking," added Lucas.

According to Lucas, the real potential of the "Drive To Stay Alive" program begins after the students return to their schools.

"The students are teamed with an experienced state trooper to spread the message to the student body in each school and to their community as well," he says. "The effectiveness of the program is based on the concept that a message conveyed by a fellow student carries more weight with other students and is therefore more memorable."

The students will be evaluated and scored on the safe driving programs they present to their respective schools and communities. The students with the most effective programs are eligible for scholarship funds. Their schools will be rewarded as well.

Last year in Kentucky, teen drivers accounted for 23,113 collisions. Of that figure, there were 112 fatalities. Even more alarming, are the 2007 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges for drivers between the ages of 16-19. There were 3,108 first offense DUI charges and 177 second offense charges filed in Kentucky district court last year.

"The goal of this program is to decrease teen fatalities on Kentucky roadways," says Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. "Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers."

Commissioner Brewer believes the "Drive to Stay Alive" program will have a lasting effect on these teens.

"These students have a unique opportunity to make a real difference," says Brewer.

"They can help influence on-the-road driving behaviors and save lives on Kentucky's highways. It's a very worthwhile goal that will require dedication and effort on their part, but it's worth it if they save even one life. It could be their own, their best friend, a neighbor or a family member."

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