2007 National Teen Driver Safety Week
October 15 - 20
Congress has passed a resolution establishing every third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. The first annual National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) was held October 15-20, 2007. Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the resolution in response to several tragic crashes involving Pennsylvania high school students.
NTDSW raises awareness about the tragedy of teen vehicle crashes, the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S., and it sparks communication among teenagers, their parents and civic leaders about the causes of and solutions to teen crashes. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Companies, which have an ongoing teen driver research alliance and outreach initiative, played a key role in the designation.
For 2007, some State Highway Safety Offices planned specific activities during the week. Others have year-long programs focusing on teen belt use, graduated licensing and underage drinking. Some NTDSW state activities are listed below:
- Alaska—The Alaska Department of Motor Vehicle distributed educational materials for parents developed by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- Arkansas—On October 10, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe held an announcement ceremony at the State Capitol in Little Rock to officially recognize the Week.
- California—The California Office of Traffic Safety partnered with GHSA and the Ford Motor Company Fund to bring the Driving Skills for Life program to Inglewood, CA October 16 and 17. Approximately 300 teens participated in the hands-on driving experience.
- Colorado—In support of the NTDSW, Colorado conducted its first "Click It or Ticket" enforcement wave October 15-21, as part of the NHTSA Teen Seat Belt pilot project . The state also produced posters and TV and radio ads focusing on teen outreach.
- Delaware—Governor Ruth Ann Minner issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 15-20, 2007 National Teen Driver Safety Week in Delaware. The Office of Highway Safety distributed underage drinking prevention materials to high schools statewide and announced the award of a $20,000 grant from Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life program to support its teen driver safety efforts, including the GDL Parent Orientation Program and partnership with GHSA-award winning Smart Drive program.
- Florida—On October 16, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Florida Cabinet declared that the third week in October is Florida Teen Driver Safety Week.
- Georgia—The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) hosted a Youth & Young Adult Highway Safety Leadership Conference Oct. 13-14. More than 350 high school and college students learned how to communicate life-saving ideas to their fellow students in Georgia schools. "We want these students to discover how many innovative ways there are to raise awareness about the harm that can result from impaired driving and drug and alcohol abuse," said Director Bob Dallas. On October 22, GOHS held a press event at Georgia Tech University, in observance of National College Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW), October 21-27. Speakers discussed the importance of education, responsible behaviors and current state laws regarding alcohol, substance abuse and impaired driving.
- Idaho—The Office of Highway Operations and Safety at Idaho Transportation Department issued a press release drawing attention to young drivers as a leading cause of death in crashes and advocating communication among teens, parents and community leaders. "Live read" tag lines notified the public of Teen Driver Safety Week. Two weeks of TV ads promoted the teen alcohol message. A radio ad focused on the costs associated with behaviors of speeding, following too close, failure to yield and driver distractions. NTDSW was also highlighted in the 2008 Idaho Highway Safety Kids Calendar, which features Idaho elementary student artwork and traffic safety messages.
- Indiana—Indiana sponsored two teen driving conferences: one at Brownsburg High School on Oct. 22 and another involving 10 high schools in Elkhart County that same week. Indiana SADD chapters were also asked to conduct events.
- Kentucky—The Kentucky Department of Transportation Safety, in conjunction with MADD, held programs throughout the state. The Department funded MADD's multi-media presentation "Take Two," to draw awareness to teen driving issues in six high schools. Media advisories and press releases were issued, as well as a statewide release specifically dealing with Teen Driving Safety. Throughout the week, the Department held three events using rollover crash simulators at high schools
- Massachusetts—The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and local police distributed safe driving/Junior Operator License information at entrances to select high school parking lots. SADD also distributed RMV's Junior Operator License public service announcement to select high schools. A press event on this initiative and to recognize Teen Safe Driving Week was held on October 18.
- Minnesota—Minnesota launched statewide seat belt enforcement on Oct. 12, with a news conference at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, featuring cheerleaders performing a high-energy "buckle up" cheer for their classmates. Supporting media material emphasized the lower belt use rate and the higher fatality and serious-injury crash rate of teens and young adults in Minnesota.
- Missouri—Missouri's "Never Made It" campaign kicked off on Sept. 17 with a press conference to announce the 2007 teen safety belt survey results and highlight NTDSW. The campaign ran through Oct. 21 and included both paid and earned media and increased law enforcement for teens. Missouri also staged a teen high school seat belt competition, "Battle of the Belt." For more information, visit www.savemolives.com/youth/index.htm.
- Nevada—As part of NHTSA's Teen Seat Belt pilot project, Nevada conducted a teen belt enforcement wave Oct. 20-Nov. 4. To spread the word, Nevada aired paid TV and radio advertisements and utilized movie theater ads, websites, private sponsors that cater to teens and college and high school events. The state provided a Latino Outreach Coordinator for the campaign, since nearly 25% of Nevada's population is Hispanic. Music download cards were 'awarded' to teens who were seen buckled up in school parking lots. Clark County (Las Vegas) kicked off the enforcement wave on Oct. 12 to coincide with National Teen Driver Safety Week.
- New Jersey—Through its newly formed Teen Driver Study Commission, New Jersey issued press releases in conjunction with NTDSW. One addressed issues the Commission is wrestling with, such as how to identify provisional license holders, simplifying the current GDL, developing a uniform curriculum, dealing with distractions (i.e., cell phones and texting). Another, in partnership with Commission member AAA, offerred tips for parents to help their teens survive the first two years of driving.
- North Dakota—North Dakota submitted articles to newspapers and setting up display boards and table tents with data, education and awareness messages at targeted locations in several communities. Safe Communities programs throughout the state held activities, including a highly publicized seat belt/child seat enforcement blitz and using the Simulated Impaired DriviNg Experience (SIDNE) at schools and community locations. Media and school assembly appearances were also scheduled to promote the issue.
- Oregon—The Oregon Department of Transportation - Transportation Safety Division's Driver Education Program spread the word about NTDSW by contacting driver education advocates with details about the event, including links to information and resources. ODOT also produced and distributed a radio public service announcement and prepared a statewide news release.
- Pennsylvania—State Senator Connie Williams (Montgomery County) held a press event during NTDSW to introduce a supporting resolution for NTDSW and promote a Senate bill banning cell phones use for teens. Representative Kathy Watson (Bucks County) introduced a supporting resolution in the House and is supporting a comprehensive House GDL bill.
- Tennessee—To increase alcohol awareness among teens and young adults, Tennessee started sponsoring "Thinkfast" game shows at colleges and high schools across the state. Students are divided into teams, and members of the winning team receive prizes such as iPods and backpacks. The questions are a mix of pop culture and alcohol awareness. The state has received wonderful feedback from administrators. Shows are held throughout the semester, including during Teen Driver Safety Week.