There's a particularly troubling statistic that persists in Alabama, and Dr. Kathy Monroe wants to do something about it.
Alabama ranks second nationwide in the rate of teens killed in traffic accidents.
It's an unacceptable reality, said Monroe, a professor of pediatrics and attending emergency room physician at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. Monroe also works with the national group, Injury Free Coalition for Kids.
Monroe is among those trying to educate other pediatricians and health care professionals, emergency responders, law enforcement officials, educators and communities in general.
On Wednesday, Monroe will speak to those groups at 7 p.m. at the Colbert County Health Department community room in Sheffield. The event is free and open to the public.
Part of Monroe's presentation will include a teen driving tool kit.
"The kit was created for pediatricians to give to parents but now we're making it available to others who are interested," Monroe said. "It contains documents useful to any parent negotiating driving issues with a teen."
The All State Foundation is a community service group that funded the creation of the kit and is providing the means for groups to travel around the state with the teen driving message.
"The bottom line is, many teens are dying in our state," Monroe said. "Through 1,400 surveys, we found that teens are engaged in risky driving behaviors such as texting and other distracted driving. When we asked if health professionals talk with them about safe driving, they said no. That's a problem. We have this information and we've got to share it."
Area health officer Dr. Karen Landers said it's time for teen driving issues to be put in the preventive health realm.
"This is good perspective, and our pediatricians and other physicians should be in on educating teens," she said. "We (as pediatricians) talk to them about everything from depression and teen suicide to sexual responsibility but we don't emphasize this one thing (teen driving) that can produce life altering changes for teens.
"The session is mainly targeting physicians but we have to broaden the scope by equipping them to help their patients in this area and give parents more opportunities to ask questions as well."
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.