By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
MADISON COUNTY —
The Kentucky State Police are looking for teens in Madison and Clark counties to participate in the free five-day Drive to Stay Alive Academy (D2SA) scheduled Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.
Teens will stay in the KSP Academy in Frankfort and participate in two days of classroom presentations and discussions as well as three days of hands-on driving instruction at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
The academy also will include educational tours, motivational speakers and fun activities planned around the clock.
There are only 35 spots in the academy, but D2SA is intended to reach many more teenagers as a “train-the-trainer” program.
The teen who creates the most effective D2SA program in his or her own community will have the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.
Students will work closely with KSP troopers in their area and will devise a way to communicate to their peers what they learned in the academy, which can be more effective than teenagers hearing it from law enforcement or their parents, said Trooper Paul Blanton, KSP Richmond post spokesperson.
In Madison County alone, 611 collisions involving drivers ages 16-20 occurred between June 2012 and June 2013.
Of those accidents, 59 resulted in injury and one fatality. However, some vehicles had multiple passengers resulting in multiple injuries, so 84 individuals sustained injury in total, according to Blanton.
He said one of the biggest reasons the KSP started the annual program 10 years ago was this statistic: More than 16 percent of all collisions in Kentucky involve teenagers when teenagers only make up 6.6 percent of the state’s driving population (this includes those with learner permits), according to KSP data.
During D2SA, certified driving instructors will guide students through a variety of obstacles while coaching them on the correct way to respond in a vehicle.
The curriculum will cover topics such as:
• Vehicle dynamics and skid control
• Safety belts and air bags
• Evasive maneuver
• Multiple turns
• Lane interchange
• Impaired driving
Blanton said one of the most common driving errors for teenagers is off-road recovery, such as when a driver drops off the edge of a road and then overcorrects when trying to gain control.
Additionally, almost half of collisions worked by the KSP involve some form of distracted driving, he said, whether it be driver inattention, driver distraction or cell phones.
The following are D2SA student eligibility requirements:
• 16 years of age or older
• A licensed driver
• Parent consent/liability form signed
• School official recommendation
• Able to speak/communicate to an audience
• Highly motivated
• Have leadership qualities
• Time commitment involved
To apply for the program, visit www.kentuckystatepolice.org/hsp/teen.htm
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.