COVINGTON -- The Newton Campus of Georgia Perimeter College recently received a $7,500 grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety earmarked to combat alcohol abuse and encourage seat belt safety.
Lt. Andrew Moore of the GPC Newton Campus Public Safety Department said the Young Adult Alcohol Awareness and Seat Belt Compliance grant will enable his department to continue its efforts to educate students on the importance of obeying traffic laws.
"We just want to do whatever we can do to educate them before they go out there and make the wrong choices," Moore said. "We're trying to be proactive."
GPC will use the grant to launch a program called GPC Newton Campus Cares. The program's goal is to increase the use of seat belts by drivers to and from the Newton Campus. The Newton Campus is not serviced by public transportation, thus causing a high flow of traffic to and from the campus.
Moore said area law enforcement agencies have worked with GPC to encourage driver safety.
"I love (Newton County) Sheriff (Ezell) Brown. He's 100 percent behind us and also the city of Covington. It's a team effort. What we do here, basically, affects them as our students drive to and from the campus," Moore said.
Moore said young people tend to disobey seat belt laws and too often mix alcohol with driving.
"The priority concern of the grant is the high percentage of alcohol-related crashes, injuries and fatalities among college-age students in the United States, specifically the state of Georgia," he said. "Many teenagers do not wear seat belts and do not designate drivers who have not consumed alcoholic beverages or other drugs during social gatherings. Drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking."
Moore, a veteran officer, said he has worked in most aspects of law enforcement, and is tired of going to traffic crash scenes and seeing young people killed.
"When you're young, you think you're invincible. But when you don't wear a seat belt, you can be ejected and you're no match for hitting the roadway or that windshield," he said.
GPC Public Safety will conduct safety checks at the campus as students arrive and leave throughout the year. Educational materials will be provided during these checkpoints and during other events. Training will also be provided for students who act as peer educators, focusing on traffic safety.