The Allstate Foundation is teaming up with Scientific Social Solutions to launch "Crash! The Science of Collisions" program in New York State.
The educational program teaches driver safety to high-school students using physics, physical science, biology, and math to reconstruct actual motor vehicle accidents.
"This program not only brings invaluable applied science lessons into the classroom, but the residual safety message of the Crash! program is so important to young and inexperienced drivers," said NY Allstate Foundation Spokesperson Kelly Costanza. The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization funded by Allstate Corp.
Designed in 2002 by John Kwasnoski, professor emeritus at Western New England College and an expert on motor vehicle crash reconstruction, the program directly engages students in the learning process through real-world problem-solving. Students use actual police reports from traffic accidents to solve a mystery using math and science.
Over 800 Crash! kits are in use today, in all parts of the U.S. Other corporate sponsors of the program include MetLife Auto Insurance, Abbot Laboratories, and Monsanto Corp.
The Allstate Foundation is delivering the S3 Crash! kits to 50 high schools in Nassau County and New York City this week, and will distribute an additional 178 kits to high schools throughout Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, and Oswego counties in the coming months.
Kwasnoski said the program's effectiveness in changing teen risk-taking attitudes is "profound." Students gain a genuine understanding of the implications and consequences of speed, inattention and alcohol on their driving, he said.
Students do more than just listen to lectures or view demonstrations -- they actively calculate things like how far a car going 45 mph will travel while its driver looks away from the road for two seconds, or how fast a car was traveling before the driver hit the brakes.
The program was first introduced into the Rhode Island Public School System in 2002. Following its inception, Rhode Island traffic safety officials noticed a 55% decrease in fatal car crashes involving 16 -to-20-year-olds.