NASCAR driver talks to students about safe driving

Published 9:00 am Friday, April 24, 2009

Spain Park High School students learned a little something about driving from one of the best on Thursday.

Kasey Kahne, a popular NASCAR driver, visited Spain Park to urge students to make good decisions while driving.

John Roberts, a TV personality with SPEEDtv, was also on hand to talk about some alarming Alabama statistics. Roberts and Kahne are part of an Allstate program to try to get teenagers to drive safely.

When talking to the assembled students, Roberts repeatedly said that 131 Alabama teenagers died in car wrecks in 2007. He spoke of his experiences as a news photographer when coming to the scene of any such wreck.

“There’s nothing like the smell of a car wreck, because you just know something tragic happened there,” he said.

Kahne and Roberts told the students that 19-year-olds are involved in the most fatal teenage crashes in Alabama and that between 2000 and 2006, there were 1,143 fatal crashes involving teenagers in the state.

Kahne talked about some of the safety rules that NASCAR drivers have to deal with, reminding the students that even when driving 200 miles per hour, safety is still the most important consideration.

After the assembly, Kahne, who is 28, said he wanted to take the opportunity to talk to teenagers so they’d think twice about driving dangerously.

“I’m still pretty young myself, so it’s nice to be able to talk to students and try to get them to think about it,” he said. “It’s important to have people talk about it, try to get teens to think about it when they’re driving and talk about it with their parents.”

Roberts said even if just one teenager takes some time to think because of the program, it’s worth it.

“It’s a great program that Allstate has come up with to help communities stay safe. The best way to do that is not to make stupid decisions behind the wheel,” Roberts said. “A car is a weapon. You can kill yourself and you can kill somebody else.”