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BIRMINGHAM – The number of Alabama teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes is the fourth highest in the nation. To address this frightening statistic, Children’s of Alabama, State Farm Insurance, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host “UR KEYS 2 DRV,” a one-day student teen driver safety summit.
Four “UR KEYS 2 DRV” events are scheduled in cities across Alabama: Tuscaloosa (March 4,) Mobile (March 17,) Huntsville (April 15) and Auburn (April 22.) Up to 300 students from local high schools in each community are expected to attend.
The “UR KEYS 2 DRV” program, which is funded through a grant from State Farm, is designed to offer an interactive educational day for students. “Teen driver safety is a top priority for the state’s largest auto insurer,” State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Emily Clark said.
Participants in the summits will hear from speakers and rotate among breakout sessions to discuss safety related topics including the Alabama Graduated Driver License Law, drinking and driving, texting and driving, and other distractions. A driving simulator will provide a valuable hands-on learning experience.
“As the medical director of the emergency department at Children’s of Alabama, I see the tragic results of teen driver injuries and deaths every day,” Kathy Monroe, MD, said. “The ‘UR KEYS 2 DRV’ events are designed to educate teens about risky driving behaviors and teach them safe driving skills in an entertaining and engaging way. We hope they will then return to school with the information they’ve learned and share it with their classmates.”
A highlight of this innovative driving safety summit will be a presentation by Mike Lutzenkirchen, Executive Director of the Lutzie 43 Foundation, an organization that aims to develop the character of young athletes and their coaches by focusing on leadership, charity, compassion, mentorship, hard work, honesty and faith. Lutzenkirchen founded the organization in honor of his 23-year-old son, Philip, who played football for Auburn University and was a passenger in a fatal car crash in 2014 in which alcohol played a role.
Participating schools will also be invited to compete in a contest to produce a video public service announcement related to teen driving. The videos will be shown during the summit and students will choose their favorites. After the event, all submitted videos will be posted on YouTube and available for public view.
While the “UR KEYS 2 DRV” events are by invitation only and advance registration is required, any Alabama high school is eligible to participate. School officials should contact Leslie Brown at leslie.brown@childrensAL.org or (205) 638-2727 for registration information.
Children’s of Alabama
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient visits and experienced nearly 14,000 inpatient days at Children’s, coming from every county in Alabama and from 45 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and is ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country by US News & World Report. More information is available at www.childrensAL.org.
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve over 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. More information is available at http://www.statefarm.com.
Alabama Department of Public Health
The Alabama Department of Public Health's mission is to serve the people of Alabama by assuring conditions in which they can be healthy. The department works closely with the community to preserve and protect the public's health and to provide caring, quality services.
Alabama Department of Transportation
The Alabama Department of Transportation is a state agency that provides a safe, efficient, environmentally sound intermodal transportation system for all users to facilitate economic and social development and prosperity through the efficient movement of people and goods. ALDOT demands excellence in transportation and is involved in promoting adequate funding to promote and maintain Alabama’s transportation infrastructure.
Injury Free Coalition for Kids
The Injury Free Coalition for Kids is among the country's fastest growing and most effective injury prevention programs. It is comprised of hospital-based, community-oriented programs, whose efforts are anchored in research, education, and advocacy. Currently, the coalition includes 42 sites located in 40 cities, each housed in the trauma centers of their participating institutions. All of the sites are independent, physician-led programs driven by the Coalition's mission: preventing injury to children.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving ®
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., (sponsored by State Farm) MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. More information is available by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD or at www.madd.org.