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Teen Driver Safety is Focus of Troy Teen Auto Safety Event; Keynote Speaker Mike Lutzenkirchen Shares Son's Story to Help Prevent Teen Auto Deaths - Archived

TROY – Nearly 300 students from throughout south central Alabama met in Smith Hall at Troy University Thursday to participate in an interactive teen driving safety assembly.

The event was hosted by UR KEYS 2 DRV, a statewide coalition working with Alabama students this fall to address the leading cause of death for U.S. teens – motor vehicle crashes. Teen drivers have crash rates three times those of drivers 20 and older per mile driven. However, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable.

Funded through a grant from State Farm, UR KEYS 2 DRV was held to offer an interactive educational day for students. Participants in the summit heard personal stories from speakers impacted by teen driving accidents. In small group sessions, the students discussed safety-related topics, including the Alabama Graduated Driver License Law, drinking and driving, texting and driving, and other distractions. Several driving simulators provided a visual and valuable hands-on learning experience.

“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,” said Arlene Lester, public affairs specialist for State Farm.

Participating schools are: Goshen HS, Dauphin JH, The Oaks School, Pike Liberal Arts, Eufaula HS, Zion Chapel HS, Kinston HS, New Brockton HS, Mid?eld HS, J.F. Shields HS, Coppinville JH, Elba HS and Evangel Christian Academy.

A highlight of the driver safety summit was 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, a former Auburn University football player, who was a passenger in a fatal car crash in which alcohol played a role. 

Children’s of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Safe Kids Alabama, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Alabama Sports Festival Foundation and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board in partnership with State Farm hosted the event.

Another UR KEYS 2 DRV event is scheduled in Oxford on Nov. 13. Two other events have already been held this year in Tuscaloosa and Orange Beach. URKEYS 2 DRV events are open to 8th- through 12th-grade students from any Alabama high school with each bringing up to 25 students. Visit for more information.

UR KEYS 2 DRV is an interactive workshop designed to educate teen drivers about safe driving. The event is sponsored in partnership with State Farm, Children’s of Alabama, Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Department of Transportation, Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Safe Kids Alabama, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Alabama Sports Festival Foundation and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The mission of this coalition is to educate teen drivers about safe driving and to improve this frightening statistic.