Keeping Every Youth Safe (KEYS) Program

The Keeping Every Youth Safe (KEYS) program aims to reduce the incidence of young driver-involved serious injuries, crashes, and rates of impaired driving across Cabarrus County for youth between the ages of 14 to 19 years old. The purpose of the project is to supplement the utilized North Carolina Driver’s Handbook curriculum with system and program components that through theKEYS Movement 1 infusion of innovative strategies will improve student knowledge and awareness on safe driving practices. By enhancing safe driving education for youth, the program seeks to catalyze significant shifts in social norms and long lasting behavior changes in safe driving compliance.

Program Funder: Department of Transportation, Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program
Years of Funding: October 2018 to September 2019
Key Partners: Cabarrus County School (CCS) District, Kannapolis City School (KCS) District, CCS and KCS Driving Education Program, SAFE Kids Cabarrus Coalition, TRAIL High School Mentor program, and law enforcement.

Universal Strategies

The ‘5 to Drive’ Teen Safe Driving Campaign will allow for local marketing of safe driving messages provided by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to be promoted to the general public as well as support the development of new supplemental communication materials.

The launch of a Safe Driving Task Force housed within Project SAFE Kids Cabarrus, an active and well-established community coalition, will enable the program to draw support from established partnerships with key community stakeholders in order to elicit lasting change.

Targeted Strategies

Driving Education Instructors will receive a KEYS Toolkit, which will include a Simulation Driving Module in which students will experience what it is like to drive while distracted, impaired, and in adverse weather through simulation technology.

The Social Norms Marketing Campaign will help build peer support for road safety by challenging youth’s perceived risks of distracted and impaired driving.

Monthly Parent Newsletters will reinforce lessons learned during driver’s education classes and improve parent-child connectivity, which research supports as a key protective factor against risky youth behaviors.

The Cinema Drive is a 90-minute experience that transforms school auditoriums into an interactive cinema and has been shown to increase young drivers’ awareness and behavioral intention for safe driving.

Intensive Strategies

Peer Mentoring is one of TRAIL’s unique and innovative approaches to changing social norms and youth behavior. Members of the TRAIL (Taking Responsible Actions In Life) high school mentor program will serve as role models and educators to help instill positive attitudes regarding safe driving and responsible decision-making.

Collaborative Benefits

By incorporating the KEYS toolkit and innovative strategies into the utilized North Carolina Driver’s Handbook curriculum, student’s knowledge, awareness, and compliance of safe driving practices will improve.

By supporting school-wide implementation, Cabarrus County Driving Education Instructors will receive additional support, training, and resources in recognition of their commitment to programming.

By implementing a multi-tiered approach at each school, we are empowering all youth to be safe drivers.

By committing to this partnership, we are creating an environment which enables youth in Cabarrus County to be positive agents of change, ultimately leading to the reduction of incidence of young driver-involved serious injuries, crashes, and rates of impaired driving.