Over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes nationally in 2019, representing 8.7% of all fatal crashes nationwide. Currently, Montana does not have a statewide law restricting the use of cellphones while driving. While some cities and towns have adopted ordinances, data show that distracted driving is a contributing factor to fatalities and injuries in the state. In 2020, teens were involved in more than 18% of all crashes statewide. For the last seven years, in coordination with the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), the Montana State Highway Traffic Safety Office (MT HSO) leveraged peer-to-peer education to provide outreach to rural schools.
Through a grant from GHSA and General Motors, MT HSO partnered with local FCCLA chapters to encourage their members to develop and implement distracted driving campaigns in their communities. Projects included seat belt checks, distracted driving pledges, guest speakers and banner contests.
Arrive Alive Tour
In addition to each FCCLA chapter’s distracted driving project, nine schools elected to include the Arrive Alive Tour as part of their campaigns. Participating students were given the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive impaired and/or distracted through a virtual reality simulation.
Ongoing Project Impact
MT HSO will continue their partnership with FCCLA and is preparing to kick off the school year. MT HSO is also recruiting FCCLA chapters to choose the focus for this year’s Teen Driver Safety Week, October 15-21. Also, teen focused podcasts will be developed and released later this year that include discussions with local youth about distracted driving.
MT HSO has proudly partnered with FCCLA for seven years and recommends SHSOs consider working with this organization to reach rural communities through peer-to-peer education.