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LHSC teaches high school students about driving safety, inventor of modern traffic signal

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BATON ROUGE - Officials from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission paid a visit to the Southern University Lab School Monday afternoon with a message to students who are gearing up to begin driving.

Lisa Freeman, executive director of the LHSC, says teenagers make up a large percentage of fatal accidents each year. 

"Tragically, the age group of young drivers 15 to 18, 15 to 24 is over represented in our fatality statistics," Freeman said.

Last year in Louisiana, there were 53,640 crashes at an intersection according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. Additionally, there were 47 fatal crashes in 2022 involving young drivers aged 15 to 18 years old.

To Freeman, any chance the LHSC gets to interact with young people about good driving habits is what she calls a "golden opportunity." To make it timely, the presentation highlighted the work of a great American inventor, Garrett Morgan.

Morgan made history when he patented a traffic light with a third function in 1923. That third function evolved into the modern day yellow light which tells drivers to 'prepare to stop.'

"Even though Garrett Morgan lived 100 years ago, his invention is still practical and in its simplicity and practicality and is still saving lives today," Freeman said.

Principal Herman Brister hoped the presentation would resonate with the future generation of drivers while inspiring them to be creative.

"As we celebrate his accomplishment, our students, especially the ones who are beginning to drive, every time they pass a stop light or traffic signal they'll have an understanding and connection to the significance of who invented it," Brister said.

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