For some, it’s personal. For others, it’s professional. For me, it’s both. Working as an advocate for teen driver safety as part of the CIRP@CHOP research team helps me honor my sister, Louise, who has been living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a car crash over three decades ago. I belong to an important network of educators, community leaders, parents, teens, and organizations, both large and small. Our mission? To reduce teen driver crashes, the #1 cause of death for this age group. We are now gearing up for National Teen Driver Safety Week -- now in its 7th year and only 11 days away – and the momentum is building.
Last year hundreds of communities and schools participated in activities using NTDSW as a platform to get people talking about teen driver safety. Ideas abound to support this year’s theme -- It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving. Here’s a sampling of what others are doing to keep teen driver safety on everyone’s minds October 20-26 and throughout the year.
Arian Braun, a student at Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, Ohio, recently testified on behalf of House Bill 204 to the Ohio State Assembly. The pending bill will strengthen the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) provisions. Braun, a member of her school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter, also attended the SADD SPEAKS program, a week-long training in advocacy and education earlier this year in Washington, DC. Hearing from teens themselves about how potential laws will affect them is powerful. Encourage teens to learn about their state’s GDL laws and to push for change.
Celebrate My Drive®, sponsored by State Farm®, has 3,198 schools across the country and Canada making the commitment to drive safe during NTDSW. From October 18-26, they will compete for 100 grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. The schools with the most commitments from individuals (tallied each day) will garner the grants. The top two schools will also win a private concert by pop star Kelly Clarkson, who lost a friend in a crash with a distracted driver and is a strong advocate for teen driver safety. There’s still time to sign up your school here. The Celebrate My Drive® site also offers tools and resources to share with teens and parents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers provides free resources for schools and organizations to share with parents about working with their teens while learning-to-drive and beyond. The posters, flyers, fact sheets, and other materials can be customized with a group’s logo. Access the complete catalog here.
On September 27, Pine View High School in St. George, Utah hosted a Homecoming Tailgate and Football game event featuring an X the TXT banner using Dixie cups on the fence outside the stadium, a special “X the TXT cheer” by the cheerleading squad at halftime, and “X the TXT” thumb bands and postcards. Students are also collecting “X the TXT” pledge cards from families through NTDSW.
The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety encourages schools to promote seat belt use with the Get Teens to Click It Front & Back Too! toolkit. The peer-to-peer campaign includes sample morning announcements, billboard messages, and in-class activities to encourage seat belt use. Also available for parents: the Speak Early, Speak Often About Teen Driving Safety toolkit.
Many school leaders across the country are also busy planning their Ride Like A Friend. Drive Like You Care campaign to be conducted during NTDSW. This peer-to-peer program encourages safe passenger behavior and responsible driving and includes a downloadable set of activities with an online planning guide.
Others have told us about activities that will not begin until NTDSW begins. I Drive Safely will kick off a “Watch Out Loud” Teen Video Contest on Facebook on October 20th encouraging teens to create a video to not drive while distracted.