TFC Billy Gregory
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 15, Columbia
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Marion, Taylor County Students Participate in KSP 'Drive To Stay Alive' Program
Date of News Release: 09/21/2009
(Frankfort, Ky.) -- Marion County High School (MCHS) student, DeLanna Johnson and Taylor County High School (TCHS) student Jess Cowherd were among twenty-one students throughout the state selected by Kentucky State Police to participate in the 'Drive to Stay Alive' program. The program ran from September 13 - 16, 2009 and was held at the KSP Training Academy in Frankfort.
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.
"Drive To Stay Alive was a life changing experience that will allow me to help save the lives of my friends and classmates," said Johnson. "I believe that I can make a difference in my community with what I learned in this program by sharing it with others. "
"This program has opened my eyes and let me see that I am not invincible," said Cowherd. "The knowledge and mindset about driving that I have gained here has been great. "
Highway Safety Branch Commander Capt. David Jude 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," advised Jude.
According to Jude, the real potential of the "Drive To Stay Alive" (DTSA) 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 DTSA students are evaluated and scored on the safe driving programs they present in their respective schools and communities. The students with the most effective programs, resulting in increased seat belt usage, are eligible for scholarship funds. Their school will be rewarded as well.
Last year in Kentucky, teen drivers accounted for 22,990 collisions. Of that figure, there were 87 fatal crashes. Even more alarming, are the 2008 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges for drivers between the ages of 16-19. There were 2,862 first offense DUI charges and 128 second offense charges filed in Kentucky district court last year.
"The goal of this program is to decrease teen fatalities on Kentucky roadways," says KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. "Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Programs like "Drive To Stay Alive' are directly impacting the Commonwealth by resulting in a decrease in teen highway deaths."
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 roadways. It's a very worthwhile goal that will require dedication 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."
For more information about the 'Drive To Stay Alive' program or how your school can get involved, please contact the KSP Highway Safety Branch at (502) 695-6306.