A local agency was recently awarded a $62,500 grant to improve young driver safety.
Based in Cleveland, the Pioneer Regional Educational Service Agency reports the Students Against Destructive Decisions grant has been awarded to Dawson County as well as Gainesville City Schools and 11 other north Georgia counties. The effort is to "involve Georgia students in reducing injury and death to young drivers."
According to 2008 Georgia Accident Reporting Crash Data, car crashes remain the No. 1 cause of death for teens and inexperienced drivers ages 15 to 19.
Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood believes more initiatives should be working against this trend.
"The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is committed to changing the tragic trend of teen driver deaths in Georgia," Blackwood said in a press release.
"We're here to make changes and I believe the SADD students can help us achieve the goal of lowering teen driver, crash, injury and fatality rates statewide. Who better to address the challenges and dangers of teen driving than teens themselves?"
The main goal of the grant is to enhance existing SADD chapters or allow schools to start a new chapter. SADD chapters also plan to conduct seatbelt surveys and host events for promoting the dangers of drinking and driving, especially during prom activities.
There are also plans for the SADD chapters to send their president and advisor to a statewide leadership-training program each fall.
"I'm confident these SADD students can convince their peers to be safer, more conscientious drivers," Blackwood said.
In 2008, there were 134 fatalities, 13,968 injuries and 85,297 crashes that involved 15- to 19-year-olds on Georgia's roadways, according to reports.