State awards KSU’s Wellness Center grant to promote driver safety

Grant will fund awareness campaign to help reduce traffic fatalities   KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 4,…

Georgia (Nov 18, 2009)

Grant will fund awareness campaign to help reduce traffic fatalities
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 4, 2009) — The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has awarded the WellStar College of Health & Human Services’ Wellness Center a grant for $13,070 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 — the Wellness Center’s third 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.
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.”
Kennesaw State will use grant funds to promote seatbelt use and prevent impaired driving, according to Sherry Grable, director of KSU’s Wellness Center, a department within the WellStar College of Health & Human Services.
The campaign seeks to influence student behavior on buckling up and staying sober on the roads by placing posters in prominent places. Postcard reinforcing that message will be mailed to specific populations, such as first-year students, Greeks, and student athletes during high risk times including spring break, homecoming, rush, & St. Patrick’s Day. 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.”
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.
For more information about the Georgia Young Adult Program through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, visit
# # #
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 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 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. For more information, visit