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Teen Drivers Report To Kentucky State Police Academy For "Drive To Stay Alive" Training

Date of News Release: 9/20/2004

Images of the Students with Commissioner Miller, Instructors and Troopers

(FRANKFORT, KY)--- Twenty-three students representing 21 high schools throughout the state arrived at the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort today for five days of classroom and hands-on driving instruction designed to decrease teenage traffic deaths. The students are participating in the second annual "Drive To Stay Alive" program, an innovative effort by the Kentucky State Police that targets counties with high teen traffic crash and fatality rates.

"Tragically, in 2003, there were more than 25,700 motor vehicle collisions involving drivers aged 16-19 in Kentucky," says KSP Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "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 will be taught by Kentucky State Police driving instructors to help recognize the most common factors leading to fatal crashes. The curriculum features 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.

"The students will also get the chance to operate a vehicle using Fatal Vision goggles, which simulate driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol," says Rudzinski. "This experience can be a real 'eye-opener' that they'll remember for a lifetime."

Three days of the training will take place at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where the students will receive hands-on instruction in actual motor vehicle skills. NASCAR Busch Series driver Stan Boyd, of the Race Kentucky Motorsports team, will join the students, instructors, KSP representatives and track officials for a press conference at the 1.5-mile, tri-oval speedway on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. His message will highlight the importance of seat belt use in saving lives.

According to Rudzinski, the real potential of the "Drive To Stay Alive" program begins after the students complete the course and return to their individual schools. "The students are teamed with an experienced Kentucky State trooper to spread the message to the student body in each school," she notes. "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 participating in the course represent the following schools: Bath Co. High, Breathitt Co. High, Caverna High, Calloway Co. High, Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg, Christian Co. High, Clinton Co. High, Gallatin Co. High, Harrison Co. High, Johnson Central High, Madison Southern High, McCreary Central High, Nicholas Co. High, Owen Co. High, Providence High, Pulaski Co. High, Somerset High, Shelby Co. High, Trimble Co. High, Walton-Verona High and Williamstown High.

Rudzinski pointed out that 14 percent of all fatal collisions in the state during 2003 involved teenage drivers.

"This program provides real world instruction designed to boost the skills and attitudes of Kentucky's teen drivers," says Rudzinski. "Once it spreads throughout the school system, we expect it to have a positive impact on highway safety through fewer teen crashes and more lives saved."

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