The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) received $21,981 from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), to improve teen driver safety throughout Kentucky.
Funding will be used for the Kentucky Checkpoints parent-teen driver program administered by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) and the Kentucky Safety Prevention Alignment Network (KSPAN)
“We appreciate our partners at Ford and GHSA for their recognition and support of Kentucky Checkpoints,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These funds will help provide this life-saving program to communities most impacted by teen driver crashes, injuries and deaths.”
Kentucky Checkpoints is a free program that helps teen drivers and their parents navigate Kentucky’s Graduated Driver Licensing requirements, promotes safe driving behaviors with an emphasis on maintaining safe speeds and outlines the consequences of violating traffic laws. Additionally, parents are assisted in working with their teen to create an individualized Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. The agreement helps effectively communicate and establish driving rules and the consequences of unsafe driving behaviors.
“Educating young drivers on safe driving behaviors is a key strategy in our crash prevention efforts,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Kentucky Checkpoints takes the extra step of involving parents in the driving process. We believe that by opening the line of communication, teens will feel supported and encouraged to make safe choices each and every time they get behind the wheel.”
According to Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle, a report by the Ford Motor Company Fund, there were 223 teen driver and passenger roadway fatalities in Kentucky from 2015 to 2019
“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and speeding is often a significant factor,” said GHSA Executor Director Jonathan Adkins. “We must remain steadfast in our commitment to combat traffic fatalities and equip teens with the skills they need to be safe drivers.”
To implement Kentucky Checkpoints, KSPAN works to recruit volunteers in high schools, health departments and other community safety-related agencies to coordinate and conduct the program in their counties. Once volunteers are identified, KSPAN provides free train-the-trainer classes, curriculum materials, localized data and technical assistance.
According to KIPRC’s Dr. Ashley Bush, all counties are eligible to receive the Kentucky Checkpoints program. However, the Ford Driving Skills grant of $21,981 will be used to provide training and financial support for up to 15 counties with the highest teen driver-related crashes, deaths and injury-related emergency department visits.
“While the Kentucky Checkpoints program is available to anyone, this grant enables us to provide funds to selected counties to help supplement training expenses such as advertising costs, staff time, training room rental and/or travel expenses,” said Bush. “These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so we strongly encourage anyone interested in championing the program in their area to contact us as soon as possible.”
Counties that qualify for the financial support are listed on the Kentucky Checkpoints application here. For additional information, contact KSPAN Program Coordinator Steve Sparrow at Steve.Sparrow@uky.edu, view the Checkpoints Information Sheetor visit the KSPAN website at http://www.safekentucky.org/.