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Thirty high school students from 21 schools throughout the state, including Taylor County, checked into the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort recently for the annual "Drive To Stay Alive" program.
"Drive To Stay Alive" is a four-day defensive driving academy for teens that combines classroom studies and road course tests in an effort to reduce teen deaths on Kentucky roadways.
In 2011, there were 21,350 teen driving collisions resulting in 4,152 injuries and 63 deaths in Kentucky.
The "Drive To Stay Alive" program is designed to bring awareness to teen driving behavior, according to Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard, commander of the Public Affairs Branch.
"The training includes hands-on driving maneuvers that take place on a professional driving course covering topics such as skid control, backing skills, multiple turns and lane interchange, evasive maneuvers, off-road recovery, and controlled braking," he said.
Saint-Blancard said classroom instruction includes seat belt safety, vehicle dynamics, crash causation, distracted and aggressive driving, and other safety initiatives. Students also receive training in how to present this information in their local communities upon their return home.
According to Saint-Blancard, the real potential of the D2SA program begins after the students return to their schools.
"The students are teamed with an experienced state trooper to spread the safe driving message to the student body in each school and to their community as well.
"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."
Students attending D2SA are from Taylor, Anderson, Barren, Breathitt, Calloway, Carroll, Floyd, Franklin, Kenton, Knott, Knox, Lyon, Muhlenberg, North Laurel, Oldham, Pulaski, Spencer and Woodford counties.