State Farm’s #URKEYS2DRV Safety Summit drives home importance of vigilance behind the wheel for north Alabama students

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) – This year State Farm Insurance Agency has partnered with Alabama Public Health, Children’s of Alabama, ALDOT, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Injury Free Coalition for Kids to host teen driver safety summits across the state. The fourth and final event took place Wednesday at Huntsville’s Von Braun Civic Center North Hall. It was clear to see #URKEYS2DRV had a tangible impact on participating students.

Of course, distracted driving is only one facet of dangers teens face while behind the wheel. State Farm’s goal is to cast a wide net on today’s teens.

“We have 7 schools that registered for today — more than 100 students from across north and north central Alabama and they are learning about the importance of teen driver safety,” says State Farm Media Relations Specialist Roszell Gadson.

The student learn not only through hands-on presentations but interactive driving simulations where teens face real-time distractions and can even experience the effects of being under the influence by wearing special goggles.

“We’re using interactive and very visual demonstrations to drive the message home that teenagers should really be careful and take driving seriously because it is serious business,” Gadson explains.

Participants got the opportunity to learn from family members of teens who have died behind the wheel and hear their sobering personal testimony of the tragedies that can come from unsafe driving practices.

The day began with guest speaker Mike Lutzenkirchen, father of Philip  Lutzenkirchen — former Auburn student athlete who lost hos life in a single vehicle accident on June 29, 2014. Mike spoke on behalf of the Lutzie 43 Foundation established to carry forward Philip’s legacy through educating students, student athletes and coaches.

Cole Cubelic, former Auburn letterman from 1996-2000 and current host of Cube Show on WUMP and analyst for SEC Network also spoke at the summit.

This is a good way to learn because people have actually experienced what we’re learning about,” said Guntersville High student Olivia Wherry of the experience.

One of the most impactful sessions features a demonstration where a student volunteer is wheeled in on a gurney so students can experience what happens in a trauma room of the emergency department, to the Intensive Care Unit, to rehabilitation in and after the hospital.

While the hope is that students will take the message back to their peers and classrooms, the lessons they learn provide a much bigger opportunity.

“We also hope that they’ll take it home to the dinner table and share this message with their families,” says Roszell Gadson.

The URKEYS2DRV YouTube Channel features safe driving PSAs from all participating schools. You can view the campaigns by clicking here.