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Fall 2007 | Vol. 10 | No. 3
National Designation Draws Attention to Teen Driver Safety
Recently, Congress passed a resolution establishing every third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. The first observance of the week was October 15-20.
On October 16, State Farm Insurance and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia held a press event on Capitol Hill to raise the issue of teen driver safety to the national level. Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), who introduced the resolution in response to several tragic crashes involving Pennsylvania high school students, both spoke at the event.
Congressman Dent said the number of teens dying in vehicle crashes is at an unacceptable level and must be brought down. Senator Casey saw National Teen Driver Safety Week as an opportunity for schools and communities across the nation to weigh in on this important issue.
Also speaking was Lauren Poe from Ada, Oklahoma, representing the 100 teens that had convened in Washington for a State Farm studentled youth summit to talk about strategies to change driving behaviors and save lives. Poe lost two classmates in vehicle crashes and felt compelled to get involved and help prevent additional tragedies.
Laurette Stiles, Vice President of Strategic Resources at State Farm, said the vision behind the week was to inspire dialogue. She shared some key findings from the teen summit. Specifically, teens want:
- More parental involvement, both
as role models and supervisors
- Stronger laws
- Stricter enforcement of existing laws and reinforcement of positive behavior
- Standardized driver education, including more supervision behind the wheel
One way teens can get involved is through Project Ignition, a national service-learning grant program sponsored by State Farm and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council. Through Project Ignition, students develop teen driver safety campaigns that change how their schools and communities approach teenage driving. Applications are now being accepted for the 2008-09 school year.
To celebrate the week, GHSA and the Ford Motor Company Fund partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety to bring the popular Driving Skills for Life teen driving program to Inglewood, CA October 16 and 17. Three hundred teens participated in the hands-on driving experience.
Other State Highway Safety Offices have also gotten involved in teen driver safety. Some held activities during the week. Others have year-long programs focusing on teen belt use, graduated licensing and underage drinking.
To learn more, visit www.chop.edu. Find information on Project Ignition at www.sfprojectignition.com. For a list of State Highway Safety Office activities, visit www.ghsa.org/html/projects/ntdsw/2007.html.