State grant to help keep KSU students safe on Georgia highways

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has awarded a $17‚900 grant to…

Georgia (Dec 20, 2007) — State grant to help keep KSU students safe on Georgia highways

Jeremy Craig

Abstract

Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison
770−423−6203
fharris4@kennesaw.edu

Contact/Writer: Jeremy Craig‚ 770−499−3448 or jcraig19@kennesaw.edu

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Dec. 20‚ 2007) −− The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has awarded a $17‚900 grant to Kennesaw State University‚ focusing on keeping students safe on the road through a high−visibility awareness campaign and education efforts among high−risk student groups.

The grant‚ which runs through Sept. 30‚ 2008‚ is issued through GOHS to implement the Georgia Young Adult Program‚ a peer−education initiative focused on reducing the number of traffic fatalities among 18− to 24−year−olds. Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States for this age group.

“Our state’s teen drivers represent a disproportionate number of drivers involved in crashes that involve injuries and deaths on Georgia’s roadways‚” said Director Bob Dallas of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. We look forward to our colleges and universities working with their peers to change the perception that crashes are accidents‚ which can’t be prevented. They can. Our hope is to have every high school and college student graduate without being involved in an injury or fatality crash.”

Specifically‚ KSU will use grant funds to promote safety belt use‚ as well as the prevention of impaired driving‚ according to Sherry Grable‚ director of KSU’s Center for Health Promotion and Wellness.

“At Kennesaw State‚ the emphasis will be upon social norming of healthy‚ positive behaviors that will reduce the risk of death or injury from car crashes on our highways‚” Grable explained. “For example‚ instead of saying that a certain percentage of students are drinking and driving‚ we will promote the majority who are not.”

“Banners and posters in prominent places‚ such as parking deck entrances on the KSU campus‚ will help get these positive messages to students‚” Grable said. Additionally‚ officials will mail postcards focusing on buckling up and staying sober on the roads to specific high−risk student populations‚ such as first−year students‚ during critical periods such as St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break.

Grant funds also will be used to purchase student access to MyStudentBody.com‚ a Web site which helps assess high−risk behaviors and educates students about drinking. The GOHS grant funds will also be used to train student peer health educators at Kennesaw State to help educate other students on the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of seat−belt use.

Cobb County crash data shows a clear need to boost highway safety among 18− to 24−year−olds. Vehicle crashes‚ injuries and fatalities among drivers in this age group represented 38 percent of crashes in Cobb County from 2003 to 2005. Sadly‚ the number of traffic fatalities during that same time period among 18− to 24−year−olds increased 22 percent.

“We hope our efforts will help make a significant contribution to the safety of not only Kennesaw State students‚ but also the safety of our friends‚ family and neighbors in Cobb County and beyond‚” Grable said. Later in 2008‚ KSU will also reach out to the next generation of college students‚ through planned programs at local high schools‚ Grable explained.

This is the second highway safety grant Kennesaw State officials have recently received from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Alan LeBaron‚ a distinguished service professor at KSU‚ is using a $47‚000 grant for efforts to promote highway safety among Georgia’s Hispanic population.

For more information about the Georgia Young Adult Program through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety‚ visit www.gahighwaysafety.org/youngadult.

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A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third−largest university in Georgia‚ Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including a new doctorate in education.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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