Conyers, Ga. – The University of Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute has been awarded a $642,900 grant from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to continue its statewide education programs in the areas of child passenger safety, parent and teen driving safety and senior driver education.
The Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, or GTIPI, has partnered with GOHS for the past 29 years in designing and delivering education that improves driver and passenger safety across the lifespan. The institute continues to be a leading resource in traffic safety training and education in Georgia.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety-UGA partnership dates back to 1986. At that time, federal grant funding was awarded to states with highway safety offices for partnering with institutions of higher education to address traffic injuries with an education and enforcement approach to reducing fatalities.
In Georgia, UGA Cooperative Extension was awarded funding support to conduct educational classes for parents and caregivers on the consistent and correct use of child safety seats in all of Georgia’s 159 counties.
Originally named the Occupant Safety Education Program, the project was renamed GTIPI in 2002. The institute continues today as an outreach initiative of UGA Extension as a part of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ department of human development and family science.
Through this year’s grant award, the institute will offer four separate training and community education initiatives: the National Child Passenger Safety Technician Certification Program, Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E. (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error), CarFit for senior drivers and the Online Safety Store.
Each program area delivers adult education for consumers, safety professionals and community volunteers designed to address the most common causes of traffic injuries and fatalities for target age groups. GTIPI also serves as a statewide resource for answering consumer questions about safer travel.
Law enforcement, emergency medical services, health departments, Extension educators, fire departments and others across the state participate in GTIPI’s training and distribute educational materials. Onsite training is conducted across the state at regional locations, as well as at GTIPI’s headquarters training facility in Conyers, Georgia.
Parents and young children benefit from safety professionals and volunteers who achieve national certification in the child passenger safety technician course.
“Even though child safety seats are used more than 90 percent of the time by Georgia parents, child passenger safety technicians consistently find that almost all of those in use are installed incorrectly,” said Don Bower, UGA professor emeritus and GTIPI project director. “The National CPST Certification Course offered by GTIPI qualifies public safety professionals, fire, medical and community volunteers to teach parents how to eliminate those installation and use mistakes.”
PRIDE trains instructors how to deliver safe driving tools to the community. For the last 11 years, GTIPI’s course for parents and their new teen drivers, “Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E.,” has aimed to reduce teen injuries and fatalities through education.
A train-the-trainer certification course equips PRIDE instructors to help parents guide their teens through the license process and helps teens learn how to avoid crashes. PRIDE instructors also equip both the parent and teen with accurate information about how to obtain and keep a Georgia driver license.
“Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E.” was showcased by the national Governor’s Highway Safety Association in 2013 for its strong educational impacts on state graduated driver licensing laws and parental involvement.
“Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, and more than two-thirds of teens who die in crashes in Georgia weren’t buckled up,” Bower said. “After more than a decade of declines in crash rates, we are seeing a troubling increase this year.”
Featured in AAA Magazine, the national CarFit program, designed for drivers aged 55 and up, helps seniors stay behind the wheel longer and more safely.
“CarFit is a non-threatening way to educate seniors about how to stay safe and comfortable in their cars as their physical abilities change with age,” Bower said.
The Online Safety Store is a partnership between GOHS and GTIPI. Now in its seventh year of collaboration, the store is Georgia’s primary source statewide for print and electronic traffic safety resources for public safety, public health, traffic safety professionals and consumers.
GTIPI manages distribution of GOHS materials from www.gahighwaysafety.org.
For more information on the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, traffic safety training and programs or other traffic-related resources, see www.ridesafegeorgia.org or call (678) 413-4281 or (800) 342-9819.