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'Let's Not Meet By Accident' program receives $31,000 grant

University Hospital's "Let's Not Meet By Accident" program has been awarded a $31,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health to continue its efforts to educate teen-age drivers about the grim reality of drinking and driving.

Studies show that teen drivers have a higher risk of fatal crashes than older drivers at all alcohol levels. According to a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) study, combining classroom and community interventions to prevent alcohol use by adolescents reduced the onset of alcohol use by 28 percent.

"Let's Not Meet By Accident" brings students into University Hospital to expose them to paramedics and to the trauma resuscitation process. Nurses and paramedics, confronted everyday with the tragic aftermath of drinking and driving, talk to students about how alcohol and drugs are a factor in 70 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States.

"Let's Not Meet By Accident" won the 1999 Onondaga County Traffic Safety Advisory Board's Norma Coburn Award, which recognizes organizations that demonstrate a commitment to enhancing traffic safety and consistently contribute organizational resources to benefit the community.

Since 1997 the program has reached more than 5,000 Central New York students.