For the past 10 years or so, Duluth Police Lt. Bill Stevens has coordinated and managed the Operation Drive Smart program for teen drivers at high schools in Gwinnett County and throughout Georgia. He was recently notified that the state had eliminated funding for Drive Smart, jeopardizing the program for next year.
Drive Smart received $39,400 in 2012 to present a minimum of programs at 15 schools, but actually plans to visit 16 to 18 schools, Stevens said.
The program has received about that same amount every year for the past decade from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, he said. An initial grant of $5,000 in 1999 was used to develop Operation Drive Smart with student input at Duluth High School, Stevens said.
Over a 10-year period, Operation Drive Smart has benefited 160,000 students through 150 programs presented at 92 schools statewide, Stevens said.