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Twenty-three Teens Graduate From KSP "Drive To Stay Alive" Program


Date of Release: 10/20/05

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark Miller (foreground) addressed 23 students from 18 high schools across the state who were graduating from Drive To Stay Alive training at KSP headuarters in Frankfort on Oct. 20, click here for a larger picture(FRANKFORT, KY.) - Twenty-three students from 18 high schools across the commonwealth graduated from the Kentucky State Police "Drive To Stay Alive" program in Frankfort today. After four days of classroom and hands-on instruction, they are now more accomplished drivers ready to accept a noble mission: spreading the safe driving message to their fellow students and local communities.

"I commend these students for completing this program," said KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. "It was not a simple task. Much of the training was the same as that received by our cadets at the KSP Academy. The curriculum included vehicle dynamics and skid control, safety belts and airbags, impaired driving, off-road recovery, evasive maneuver, controlled braking, multiple turns and lane interchange."

"Their graduation is not an end, but rather a beginning," he added. "They now have a unique opportunity to directly affect the lives of others in a positive manner. Their efforts can help save lives. It could be their own, their classmates, their relatives or their neighbors. This is a special responsibility and I know they will not take it lightly."

Angela Leigh, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Kentucky addressed the graduates saying, "No one who travels our roads is immune to risks or to the heartbreak that crashes bring, especially teenagers who have only recently begun to drive. It seems new and exciting now. The newness today will tempt you to take risks and the routine of the future will lull you into complacency and inattentiveness. Neither is acceptable and I'm asking you to be aware of both dangers---for your sake, your parent's sake and for the others with whom you share the road."

After returning to their schools, each student will be teamed with an experienced Kentucky State Police trooper in their local community. Together, they will execute a communications program, designed by the student, to influence the driving habits of teenagers in their area. Their efforts will be monitored by the KSP Governor's Highway Safety Program for effectiveness. The student and school achieving the best results will be eligible for special rewards.

In last year's "Drive To Stay Alive" program, Jessy Williams, a student at Trimble Co. High School, posted top honors and received a $2,500 scholarship from the Kentucky Automobile Dealer's Association. Her school received a $500 check from the Kentucky State Police Professional Association.

Student reactions to the training program were insightful. "It was so powerful that I could never forget what I learned here," said Dustin Drifmeyer, of Erlanger, a student at Lloyd Memorial High School. "I learned to wear seat belts no matter what," said Brittany Terry, of Dunnville, a student at Casey County High School. "It's better to be safe than cool and dead."

Lee Anna Wolford, of Dry Ridge, a student at Grant County High School, learned that "you have to always be aware of your surroundings." Brock Wicker, of Elizabethtown , a student at Elizabethtown High School, commented "Driving is a full time job. Don't let distractions take away your life or the lives of others."

"You can never be too careful, no matter what you driving skill level," noted Justin Gregory, of Nicholasville, a student at The Providence School. "You never know what will happen in the blink of an eye." Joshua Motley, of Ezel, a student at Morgan County High School agreed. "Everything can change in a second. Be safe and drive defensively," he added.

For Thomas Pinion, of Phyllis, a student at East Ridge High School, the training taught him "to be a proactive driver." "Drive in the future, not the past or present," said Ben Locke, of Pine Top, a student at Knott County Central High School.

"Drive smart, not stupid," observed Amanda Howard, of Salyersville, a student at Magoffin County High School. "Pay attention, be alert and think before you drive."

The students who graduated from the "Drive To Stay Alive" program today include:

  1. Brittany Terry, Dunnville, Casey Co. High School,
  2. Christopher Bechtold, Cresent Springs, Dixie Heights High School (Edgewood),
  3. Thomas Pinion, Phyllis, East Ridge High School (Lick Creek),
  4. Brock Wicker, Elizabethtown, Elizabethtown High School,
  5. Amanda Buttlewerth, Sparta, Gallatin Co. High School,
  6. Lee Anna Wolford, Dry Ridge, Grant Co. High School,
  7. Brennan K. Smith, Horse Cave, Hart Co. High School,
  8. Martin Patrick, Emmalena, Knott Co. Central High School,
  9. Ben Locke, Pine Top, Knott Co. Central High School,
  10. Dustin Drifmeyer, Erlanger, Lloyd Memorial High School (Erlanger),
  11. Lakin Cheek, Salyersville, Magoffin Co. High School,
  12. Amanda Howard, Salyersville, Magoffin Co. High School,
  13. Joshua Motley, Ezel, Morgan Co. High School,
  14. Elizabeth Kidwell, Cold Spring, Newport High School,
  15. Courtney Nunnally, Southgate, Newport, High School,
  16. Samantha Sutton, Cynthiana, Nicholas Co. High School,
  17. Sarah Mansfield, Cynthiana, Nicholas Co. High School,
  18. Cameron Hardin, Phelps, Phelps High School,
  19. Kyle Smith, Raccoon, Pike Central High School,
  20. Justin Gregory, Wilmore, The Providence School (Nicholasville),
  21. Adam Gulley, Covington, Scott High School (Covington),
  22. Brandon Smith, Nancy, Southwestern High School (Somerset),
  23. Danny Weddle, Somerset, Southwestern High School (Somerset).

"This program is the only one of its kind in Kentucky and it is setting the pace for others across the country," said Miller. "Its real value is based on the concept that a message conveyed by a student carries a more personal tone with other students and is therefore more effective. Once this program spreads throughout the school system, it has the potential to pay big dividends in reduced teen crashes and more lives saved."

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