The Kentucky State Police agency is partnering with Toyota to educate high school students about the number one killer of teens: traffic crashes.
“Alive at 25” is a defensive driving course that will be implemented statewide over the next two years with the help of a $150,000 dollar grant from Toyota operations in Kentucky.
The program was taken to students at Warren East High School in Bowling Green on Thursday. In the audience was 18-year-old Bradley Pearson who admits to texting while driving.
“I didn’t see it as that big of a deal, but after today, I know I need to stop," said Pearson. "I text with other people in the car, and if I wreck it affects them just as much as it does me.”
Sixteen-year-old Patrick Burton considers himself a safe driver, partly because of the impact a distracted driving crash had on his family.
“When I was young, I had a great-uncle who was a police officer. He was working traffic control and a woman in an SUV wasn’t paying attention and hit him head-on, and he ended up dying," explained Burton.
For the first time in 60 years, the commonwealth saw a drop in highway fatalities in 2013. KSP Trooper Jonathan Biven says education must start with young invincibles.
That’s the perfect time to do it because they truly don’t know, they haven’t had the experience. In the beginning, they don’t listen, but then you start sharing real life situations with them, all eyes are locked on you. This is the time to get them," commented Biven. "In the commonwealth, we had a decline in fatalities for the first time in 60 years last year. I like to think that’s because of the education all police officers across the commonwealth are doing, not just the state police.”
“Alive at 25” is a free four-hour course developed by the National Safety Council that’s expected to reach over 11,000 high school students.