CCE Receives State Farm Grant

2014 Distracted Driving Awareness for High School Students

School of Health Technology and Management – Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development

SUNY – Stony Brook

2015 State Farm Press Release



State Farm Awards Grant to Stony Brook University to Enhance High School Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

Stony Brook, NY (March 2015) - State Farm® awarded a $20,000 grant to Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management to enhance its Healthy Lifestyles Distracted Driving Awareness campaign this spring.  The grant will enable the School’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development (CCE) to enhance its distracted driving simulation experience.

Last year, the CCE began a Distracted Driving Prevention for High School Students initiative to address the growing problem of distracted driving. Every day more than 15 people die in motor vehicle accidents attributed to distracted-driving, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control in 2014. 

Building upon a previously awarded State Farm 2014 Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant, the CCE has garnered the support of a team of health professionals who have presented to over 500 high school students at Amityville High School, Brentwood High School, William Floyd High School and Wyandanch High School. 

As a recipient of the State Farm 2015 Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant, the team will now offer an enhanced two-day presentation of the Distracted Driving Prevention initiative which exposes high school students to the dangers of distracted and drowsy driving in a risk-free environment by using simulation technology.  This enhanced initiative is unique this year, as the team has received support from school districts to conduct research on the effectiveness of its two-day curriculum.

"By addressing this issue with young people, we hopefully can make a difference that we can convince them not to text while driving, not to use their cell phone while driving, not to drink while driving; so this is a major initiative,” said Professor Stephen G. Smith, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Respiratory Care Program at Stony Brook University.

Distracted driving has increasingly become an epidemic of fatal proportions on today’s roadways, unfortunately mostly affecting novice teenage drivers. In January 2012, the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research’s New York Fact Sheet showed “drivers ages 16-20 are much more likely to have driver inattention/distraction” than other drivers.  According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles’ 2011 Statewide Statistical Summary, driver inattention/distraction is listed as a contributing factor in 49,917 (19.4%) of all New York State crashes.

The CCE’s Distracted Driving Prevention for High School Students initiative is provided at no cost to the school districts or their students. Due to limited school budget resources, the four districts with which the CCE works do not currently provide Driver’s Education courses, making this initiative all the more important. The initiative’s simulation activities look to bolster these limited resources by strongly emphasizing the importance of promoting healthy behaviors in teenage drivers.

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