As Teen Traffic Deaths Spike, States Awarded New Grants

Resource Type

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2017

Contact: Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x120

Five States Receive Total of $74,000 to Benefit High-Risk Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With teen driver deaths up 9 percent in 2015, The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) have awarded State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) in Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire and New York $74,000 in funding to support teen safe driving activities.

This announcement comes on the heels of new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research that newly licensed teen drivers in were three times as likely as adults to be involved in fatal crashes. Also, according to NHTSA, a total of 1,866 teen drivers were killed in 2015 – 163 more teen deaths than in 2014. Early estimates for 2016 reveal that traffic deaths continued their surge upward.

“Clearly novice drivers continue to pose a risk on the road to themselves and others,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “States will use the funds to implement recommendations made in a recent GHSA and Ford DSFL report highlighting the risks of teen drivers and promising approaches to prevent teen crash deaths.”

Planned state activities include the following:

  • The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will host a two-day teen safe driving event in February 2018 to coincide with the state’s Youth and Young Adult Leadership Conference. More than 150 students are expected to attend for hands-on, interactive lessons on safe driving and innovative ways to communicate safety to their peers.
  • The Montana State Highway Traffic Safety Office will partner with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to promote the Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS) program with a traffic safety rally. The rally will teach FCCLA advisors and students how to develop and implement a traffic safety project and serve as a model for additional school-hosted community rallies and traffic safety campaigns, also partially funded by this grant.
  • The Nebraska Department of Roads Highway Safety Office is planning three traffic safety events for teens throughout the state, including “Ride and Drive” advanced skills exercises with certified driving instructors. The events will integrate the Ford Driving Skills for Life online Academy and also feature a rollover simulator and photo opportunities. 
  • The New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety will partner with the Injury Prevention Center at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth to host a statewide multi-school event focusing on the danger of drug-impaired driving. The event will include presentations by victims of drugged driving crashes, law enforcement, and a NASCAR teen safe driving advocate to show teens the realities of drugged driving and encourage them to make good choices.
  • The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) will host a statewide contest to boost and analyze its Coaches Care program, which encourages high school athletic coaches to promote highway safety with their student athletes. GTSC will also hold a hands-on traffic safety educational event during National Teen Driver Safety Week with students from Allegany County colleges.

“Unfortunately, teen driver fatalities have been trending in the wrong direction,” said Adkins. “Ford Driving Skills for Life’s decade-long support of state teen safe driving efforts provides critical resources for states to address this issue. We look forward to seeing these creative efforts implemented.”

In partnership with GHSA, Ford DSFL has trained more than one million individuals worldwide in safe driving skills since its inception in 2003. In addition to providing these state grants, this year Ford DSFL has held hands-on trainings in Florida, California, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois. Upcoming events include a stop in Colorado and a Summer Tour of the Northeast. More information and the latest schedule can be found at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

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About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.

About Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed teens and parents the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses. The program has trained more than 1 million individuals in safe driving practices. It is offered in 34 countries, and hands-on driving clinics have been conducted in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information visit http://www.drivingskillsforlife.com/.