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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

KSP Graduates Thirty-Three Teens From Driving Academy

Date of News Release: 09/12/2011

Top Row David Loue, Paul Lawrence Dunbar High; Morgan Loy, DuPont Manual High; Ryan Noble, Knott Co. Central High; Joe Luken, Lloyd Memorial High; David Tanksley, East Jessamine High; Robert Kelty, Franklin Co. High; Clayton Hutton, Franklin Co. High; Second Row Alex Bush, Hart Co. High; Dylan Ferguson, Edmonson Co. High; Hunter Robinson, Breathitt High; TJ Godbey, Lincoln Co. High; Isaac Petty, Taylor Co. High; Collin and Cameron Shelton, Webster Co. High; Noelle Banks, Knott Central High; Andy Finck, Taylor Co. High; Third Row Amanda Wilson, Henry Co. High; Barrett Rogers, Logan Co. High; Jacob Blair, Barren Co. High; Jacob Childress, Leitchfield Christian Academy; Mariah House, South Laurel High; Sydney Teal, Mercer Co. High; Neil Abbott, Bullitt Central High; Will Walker, Madison Southern High; Hagan Smith, Jackson City High; Caleb Conn, Allen Central High; Bottom Row  Patrick Ueltschi, Western Hills High; Jessika Agee, Bullitt East High; Alex Hawkins, Tates Creek High School; Markedra Jackson, Bryan Station High; Emily Hudson, Shelby Co. High; Jordan Hardwick, Menifee Co. High; and Chelsea King, Cumberland County High. (Students listed starting with top row, from left to right, as pictured in photograph).Photo by Les Williams: Drive To Stay Alive Class 2011.

(Frankfort, Ky.) -- Thirty-three students from thirty different schools throughout the state graduated from the KSP 'Drive to Stay Alive' (DTSA) academy. The program ran from September 7 11, 2011 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.

Public Affairs 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," advises Jude.

"We focus heavily on distracted and inattentive driving which is prevalent in this particular age group," says Jude.

According to Jude, the real potential of the 'Drive to Stay Alive' program begins after the students return to their school.

"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.

The DTSA program is funded through KSP and a grant from State Farm Insurance Company.

Last year in Kentucky, teen drivers accounted for 21,870 collisions. Of that figure, there were 83 fatal crashes.

"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."

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