How many Georgia high schools make headlines because young drivers die at the wheel, plunging entire student populations into sudden periods of grief and disbelief?
Because car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens, drivers ages 15-19 have a higher rate of crashes, injuries and fatalities than adult and elderly drivers. In 2010, there were 127 roadway fatalities among persons ages 15-20 in Georgia. That represents 10 percent of all fatalities that year. Male teen drivers and passengers are also twice as likely as their female counterparts to die in a vehicle crash.
In an effort to involve Georgia students in reducing injury and death to young drivers, Pepperell High School in Lindale, Georgia is proud to announce their receipt of a $6,500 Students Against Destructive Decisions grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grant will enhance Pepperell’s existing SADD chapter with the idea that student input into the solution will help alleviate the problem of teen driver fatalities in Georgia.
The Pepperell High School SADD Advisor, Alana Ellenburg said, “This grant allows our Chapter to continue to lead peer-to- peer activities and events for all of our Rome/Floyd County community. This grant’s financial award is vital to our success, however, the overall support that we receive from the GOHS is just as important.”
“The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is committed to changing the tragic trend of teen driver deaths in Georgia,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “We’re here to make changes and I believe the SADD students at Pepperell High School 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? I’m confident these SADD students can convince their peers to be safer, more conscientious drivers.”
The Pepperell High SADD chapter is extremely active in their school and community. They have monthly activities planned for the remainder of the school year including the 9th Annual “Just Drive” Safe Driving Expo in April, a Teen Car Show in April, Seatbelt checks, 21 or Bust activities, and more. Everything the Pepperell SADD Chapter does is student lead toward making a difference in the lives of their peers.
“It is a blessing to work alongside young adults that are concerned for the safety of others in their own community”, said Ellenburg. “Each year the chapter talks about what makes an event a success and each year it is the same answer. If we can save a single life, we consider that a success.”
In addition, the Pepperell High School SADD chapter will send four members of its Executive Council and one advisor to the statewide leadership-training program this February at Jekyll Island along with the representatives from other high schools that received similar grants.
For more information on how to obtain a SADD grant, contact: Eshon Poythress at 404-657-1955, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Contributed by Alana Ellenburg)