The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) have awarded State Highway Safety Offices in Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire and New York $74,000 in funding to support teen safe driving activities.
The announcement comes shortly after new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research showed that newly licensed teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in fatal crashes. Also, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 1,866 teen drivers were killed in 2015 – 163 more teen deaths than in 2014. Early estimates for 2016 revealed 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.”