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State Farm grant promotes safe driving for area high school students

Pictured (left to right): S.C. Rep. Mike Burns, Alive at 25 coordinator Kathy Harris, State Farm representative Steve Borklund, S.C. National Safety Council Training and Development Coordinator Melissa Reck, and State Farm representative Mahler Nunez. Pictured (left to right): S.C. Rep. Mike Burns, Alive at 25 coordinator Kathy Harris, State Farm representative Steve Borklund, S.C. National Safety Council Training and Development Coordinator Melissa Reck, and State Farm representative Mahler Nunez.

TRAVELERS REST, SC — An $8,750 grant from State Farm is helping to make Upstate roads safer, providing free training to new high school drivers.

The agency teamed up with the S.C. National Safety Council to offer the Alive at 25 teen driver safety program to 250 students at no charge to the students or their families.

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Alive at 25 bridges the gap between what teens learn in driver’s education and what behaviors and skills they need to become responsible, crash free drivers.  It focuses on the attitudes, behaviors, and decision making paradigms that young drivers exhibit behind the wheel that cause them to be so frequently involved in motor vehicle crashes.

The four-and-a-half-hour program was held at Travelers Rest High School earlier this week, with a check presentation held in the school's media center. Pictured above are (left to right): S.C. Rep. Mike Burns, Alive at 25 coordinator Kathy Harris, State Farm representative Steve Borklund, S.C. National Safety Council Training and Development Coordinator Melissa Reck, and State Farm representative Mahler Nunez.

Since February 2007, over 140,000 students have completed the Alive at 25 course state wide and the South Carolina National Safety Council reports a continual decrease in the percentage of overall collisions in South Carolina that are made up of this age group. In an on-going study by SCNSC, 98% of DDC Alive at 25 participants said they would change their driving behavior after taking the course.

“The success of this program is truly attributed to our amazing sponsors, such as State Farm, and the hard work and dedication of our amazing instructors who utilize their off time to build a relationship with these young drivers and educate them to make safer choices," said SCNSC Training and Development Coordinator Melissa Reck, "Alive at 25 is a program that thrives on passion and the goal of reducing our young driver fatalities to zero, because one life lost is one too many.”

Alive at 25 is written and designed for drivers 15-24 years of age and is taught by certified law enforcement officers and first responders.

“Car crashes are the number one killer of teens,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. “Learning safe driving habits at an early age can help reduce collisions and injuries.”

Related on the Tribune: Teen drivers three times as likely to be involved in a deadly crash, study shows

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