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School News: Gainesville High School and Center Point earn SADD Grant
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One local group of high school students is trying to reverse the trend of teen drivers being the source of bad press in their community due to tragic texting and driving deaths or crashes involving speed and alcohol.

In an effort to involve students in reducing injury and death to young drivers, Center Point in collaboration with Gainesville High School have received a $2,000 Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Car crashes remain the No. 1 cause of death for teens. Drivers ages 15 to 19 have a higher rate of crashes, injuries and fatalities than adult and elderly drivers. In 2012, an estimated 156 crash deaths involved drivers ages 15 to 20.

That represents 13 percent of all traffic fatalities in Georgia. While the percentage is an overall decrease from 17 percent in 2007, Georgia was projected to reach 13 percent by the end of 2013.

This grant will enhance the existing SADD chapter known as S.P.E.E.D. (Students Putting Extra Emphasis on Decisions) with the idea that student input into the solution will help alleviate the problem of teen driver fatalities in Georgia.

“While our teen driver fatality rates are slowly declining, there are still far too many young people dying on our roads as a result of avoidable factors like distracted driving, speeding and underage alcohol consumption,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said.

“Things have to change and I believe the SADD students at Gainesville High School can make a difference in their community to help bring teen crash rates down statewide. These students know that sometimes, one of the best ways to get through to teenagers is with teenagers themselves.”

The Center Point/Gainesville High School SADD chapter plans to conduct activities and awareness on seatbelt safety and the dangers of underage drinking.

In addition, the SADD chapter will send four team members and adviser to a statewide leadership-training program 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, epoythress@gohs.ga.gov.

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