Pound of Prevention
Turning 16 is a celebrated rite of passage for teenagers, but the number also has a more troubling significance. According to national studies, an average of 16 teens die each day in motor vehicle accidents, making them the No. 1 killer for this age group. Most of these tragedies are due to driver error—habits and behaviors that can be easily corrected to save countless lives.
Two years ago, All State Insurance Company instituted “Keep the Drive,” a campaign designed as a peer-to-peer movement for teens led by teens to discuss smart driving and encourage open conversation. Wynnewood’s Andrew Karasik was chosen as Pennsylvania’s representative for the campaign. An 18-year-old senior at Lower Merion High School, where he’s also student body president, Karasik has leadership roles in a number of prevention movements, including BUSTED!, a statewide anti-tobacco group; SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions); Take It Back, a national youth-led movement to reduce alcohol problems and increase health and safety; and the National Road Safety Program, where he’s a presenter and speaker. “I try to blend my work in prevention movements with my leadership of the students at Lower Merion to help steer them away from destructive behavior,” says Karasik.
His mother, a school nurse and coordinator of prevention programs at Overbrook High School, inspired his interest in such causes. “Of course it’s hard when you have peer pressure, but I made a promise to myself not to smoke, drink or do drugs,” says Karasik. “I feel it’s my purpose to try and prevent these destructive actions among my peers.”