September 1, 2014

Commission on Teen Driving members to receive scholarships following $20,000 grant award from Ford

Pictured above (L-R) are DSFL regional representative Paul Szatkowski, Miss Gracie Rowe and GOHS director Harris Blackwood.

Pictured above (L-R) are DSFL regional representative Paul Szatkowski, Miss Gracie Rowe and GOHS director Harris Blackwood.

(Atlanta, GA) – Georgia’s 21 members of the nation’s first all-teen advisory commission on teen driving are being rewarded for their insight with $500 scholarships funded by a grant from Ford’s Driving Skills For Life (Ford DSFL) program.

One of those being awarded the scholarship is 2013 graduate of Heard County High School, Ms. Gracie Rowe.

Five states were each awarded $20,000 grants by the Ford program, developed in conjunction with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), and elements of the award-winning teen driving program will be incorporated into initiatives by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) as well as the highway safety offices in Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Utah.

GOHS will use the grant to award $500 scholarships to the 21 teens currently serving on the Governor’s Commission on Teen Driving and to host a future Ford DSFL event. The nation’s first all-teen Commission, which was convened in November and issued a recommendation report to Governor Nathan Deal in March, will partner with GOHS to plan and implement a teen safe driving event in Savannah. The Ford DSFL activity will provide Commission members the opportunity to reach their peers with key safe driving strategies and messages.

“We couldn’t be more thankful to Ford and GHSA for their recognition of these teens’ hard work over the last nine months,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “It’s a daunting task to figure out an effective way to get a safe driving message through to teens, but we went straight to the source and we’re looking forward to implementing their recommendations.”

The all-teen board appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal recommended major changes to teen driver education strategies and asked for harsher penalties for teens who break Georgia’s law banning motorists from sending text messages and using smartphones while driving. The Commission also recommended a ban on handheld cell phone use for all Georgia drivers and presented their findings to a group of Georgia lawmakers, highway safety advocates and public safety leaders in March.

The commission’s ultimate goal is to discover strategies that reduce the number of teen crashes, injuries and fatalities on Georgia’s highways. While preliminary data shows that the number of fatal crashes involving 16 and 17-year-olds declined in 2012, vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death for teenagers in Georgia.

Commission members are:

Felicia Ashley of Macon
Eric Beeler of Johns Creek
Hope Boyd of Rome
Emily Brumlow of Calhoun
Baylee Culverhouse of Warner Robins
Alex Floyd of Atlanta
Cara Gloyd of Dallas
AmberNechole Hart of Columbus
Susannah Hooks of Swainsboro
Evan Katz of Atlanta
Cyrianne Keutcha of Stone Mountain
Kennan Luther of Atlanta
Tourner Moseley of Evans
Kyra Parks of Fayetteville
Morgan Polk of Snellville
Gracie Rowe of Franklin
Gordon Schley of Tybee Island
George Shepherd of Waynesboro
Nathan Sidey of Dillard
Griffin Sorohan of Rutledge
Hannah Walters of Watkinsville

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