State awards KSU $18‚000 grant to promote driver safety

Grant will fund awareness campaign to help reduce traffic fatalities

Georgia (Jan 16, 2009) — State awards KSU $18‚000 grant to promote driver safety

Sabbaye McGriff

Abstract

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

Contact/Writer: Sabbaye McGriff‚ 678−797−2550 or smcgrif1@kennesaw.edu

State awards KSU $18‚000 grant to promote driver safety
Grant will fund awareness campaign to help reduce traffic fatalities

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Jan. 14‚ 2009)
— The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has awarded Kennesaw State University a grant for $18‚000 for an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities among 18− to 24−year−old drivers‚ a high−risk group.

The grant — Kennesaw State’s second award from GOHS — funds the Georgia Young Adult Program‚ a high−profile peer−education campaign that seeks to convince young motorists that crashes are preventable.

Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury among 16− to 24−year−olds. The state’s latest data show that more than 23‚000 16− to 24−year−olds were injured in auto crashes‚ and almost 270 of them died.

Kennesaw State will use grant funds to promote seatbelt use and prevent impaired driving‚ according to Sherry Grable‚ director of KSU’s Center for Health Promotion and Wellness.

The campaign seeks to influence student behavior on buckling up and staying sober on the roads by placing banners and posters in prominent places‚ such as parking deck entrances on the KSU campus. Also‚ postcards reinforcing that message will be mailed to specific populations‚ such as first−year students‚ during critical periods such as spring break. The goal is to change what students perceive as the norm.

“Perception of the norm is a powerful prediction of personal behavior‚ whether it’s alcohol use‚ cigarette smoking‚ substance abuse‚ seatbelt use or bullying‚” Grable said. “The social norms model proposes that many problem behaviors may be due to the desire to fit within one’s social group. With repeated exposure to a norm‚ misperceptions are reduced‚ and the target population begins to act in accordance with the true norm of their peers.”

Grant funds also will be used to purchase student access to mystudentbody.com‚ a Web site that helps assess high−risk behaviors and educates students about the hazards of drinking. Funds will also be used to train student peer−health educators at Kennesaw State to help fellow students understand the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of seatbelt use.

Cobb County traffic accident data show 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. The number of traffic fatalities during that same time period among 18− to 24−year−olds increased 22 percent.

“Our state’s teen drivers represent a disproportionate number of drivers involved in crashes that involve injuries and deaths on Georgia’s roadways‚” said Bob Dallas‚ director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Our hope is to have every high school and college student graduate without being involved in an injury or fatality crash.”

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

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Kennesaw State University is the third−largest university in Georgia‚ offering more than 65 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including new doctorates in education and business. A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 21‚000 from 142 countries.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 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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