ThinkFirst Stresses Road Safety Awareness

When travelers hit road for holiday season, safe driving should be a priority

KANSAS CITY, Mo., (Nov. 17, 2011) – With a rash of area fatality automobile accidents in the past week, the large number of drivers that will take to the road over the holiday season and the addition of unpredictable winter weather, people should be aware of the dangers that lurk before getting behind the wheel.

The Research Foundation’s ThinkFirst injury prevention program, through its Voices for Injury Prevention (VIP) speakers who have suffered either a spinal cord or brain injury, teaches young drivers the importance of paying attention to the road rather than speeding, texting, talking on a cell phone, or worse, drinking while driving.

“While our program is geared toward young people, the focus for the high school kids is to get them to wear their seatbelts at all times, be a responsible driver and passenger, and most importantly, be aware of their surroundings,” said The Research Foundation’s president Cynthia Randazzo. “Sometimes, it’s someone or something else you have to watch out for while still taking care of yourself.”

Automobile accidents with fatalities in south Johnson County, Topeka and Lee’s Summit over the past week continue to add to the sad, ever-growing statistics that ThinkFirst works hard to prevent.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group,” said Randazzo. “Those crash victims that do survive can be left with a permanent brain or spinal cord injury. The most frequent age that individuals sustain a spinal cord injury is 19. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use.”

If you would like the opportunity to speak with one of the VIP speakers about the program and the tips they offer on safe driving, please call (816) 276-4811 to schedule an interview.

About ThinkFirst: ThinkFirst of Greater Kansas City, a chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, was established in 1987 and provides free school based presentations to students in grades kindergarten through 12. Each year, 34,000 students in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area learn about the consequences of traumatic injuries from brain or spinal cord injury survivors. These sobering, yet motivational messages urge youth to take personal responsibility and make safe choices. The presentations cover a variety of topics including promoting seat belt usage, sports and recreation safety, helmet usage, motor-vehicle safety, water safety and avoiding violence.

About The Research Foundation: The Research Foundation is a not-for-profit organization in Kansas City, Mo. dedicated to strengthening the community and empowering people to live healthier, productive lives through its health education and scholarship programs. The Harmon Diabetes Center teaches self-management diabetes education to help patients control their diabetes and reduce the chance for life-threatening complications. The award-winning ThinkFirst of Greater Kansas City injury prevention program educates area youth through free school-based assemblies aimed at helping young people prevent traumatic injuries and deaths. The Foundation also awards scholarships to students pursuing a nursing career. For more information, visit