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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 6:04PM

UNG receives grant to support safe driving among young adults

By Staff
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DAHLONEGA - The University of North Georgia has received a $7,270 grant to participate in a Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) program aimed at reducing young driver crashes, injuries and fatalities. GOHS' latest figures, from 2008, show 306,367 crashes, and 12.8 percent of those crashes involved drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.

The office works with colleges and universities throughout the state to implement the Georgia Young Adult Program (GYAP), which uses strategies like peer education, providing educational speakers to schools, and encouraging schools to develop innovative techniques to reduce crashes.

"The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is committed to changing the tragic trend of young adult driver deaths in Georgia," GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. "We're here to make changes and I believe the students at the University of North Georgia can help us achieve the goal of lowering driver crash, injury and fatality rates statewide. Who better to address the challenges and dangers facing young adults than their peers? I'm confident these students can convince their peers to be safer, more conscientious drivers."

Sarah Williams, health educator for the Department of Student Health Services at UNG, said the grant will be instrumental in funding alcohol awareness programs.

"Consequences from binge drinking are prevalent in the college-aged population, and these funds help support education, awareness and prevention for students to make wise, responsible decisions," Williams said.

The grant also provides funding for student worker Abby Young, who will provide healthy lifestyle programming and activities during the upcoming spring semester.

"These events, which are usually booths outside of our Dahlonega Campus student center, include brochures, interactive games, and facts and statistics that inform students about the health risks of things such as alcohol and tobacco," Young said. "These resources help to promote a healthy way of life, including tips for how to avoid risks that include alcohol, such as drinking and driving or alcohol poisoning."

Some of the other events that participating institutions hold include "think fast" trivia, DUI simulators, Alcohol Education Week, and Safe Spring Break Week. The grant funds activities from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.

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