Teens Teaching Teens

9 years 8 months 19 hours ago July 26, 2007 Jul 26, 2007 Thursday, July 26 2007 Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:05:44 PM CDT in News
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The conference, called Team Spirit, uses federal grants to train teens on road safety. 

Cassie Trusty is a senior at Iberia High School. For her and her classmates, this conference strikes a personal note.

"We've lost two or three kids at our school to traffic accidents," Trusty said.

Right now, students from across the state are bonding with their team leaders -- peer mentors of sorts.

"The best way to get through to them is to set the example and live it ourselves," team leader Jason Henke said.

MODOT officials say teens age 15-18 are the most overrepresented group in traffic fatalities.

"Anytime you're doing anything other than focusing on driving you're putting yourself at risk," conference coordinator Sharee Galnore said.

When the conference started on Wednesday, folks there said they focused on seatbelts and drinking and driving, but they expanded Thursday. They said kids face a whole slew of new challenges on the road.

Trainers hope students will take what they learn and share it back home.

"We want to provide a quality and educational program, giving them the opportunity to lead in their community and school. The kids do docu-dramas, crash reenactments, that are all very effective," conference coordinator Adrian Hendricks said.

After more than ten years of reaching out to students like Cassie, coordinators claim results.

"It's really quite exciting, we're looking forward to getting going this year," Hendricks said.

Within those results -- like we reported earlier this week -- Missouri topped the list for reducing traffic fatalities in 2006, something MODOT hopes it can keep doing with the help of some special high school students.

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