Taking Action for National Teen Driver Safety Week

November 7, 2013

It’s early November and time to give thanks to the schools, student clubs, and community leaders that organized activities during this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW). The week, which ran from October 20-26, spurred thousands of schools and communities across the country to use NTDSW as a platform for promoting teen driver safety. In a previous post, I shared what some leading teen driver safety organizations were doing to keep the momentum going. Here’s another sampling of what others did for NTDSW – this time from the grassroots level.

The 7th annual Bucks County High School Seat Belt Safety Challenge kicked off on October 22 to encourage students in this Pennsylvania county to buckle up. The school with the highest overall percentage of students using seat belts, as well as the greatest percentage increase in seat belt use, will receive a trophy plaque and a $500 cash grant for safety-related projects in April 2014. Last year 19 schools participated, and all reported an uptick in student belt use based on a baseline survey conducted in the fall and another in the spring.

Speak Up. Save A Life” took first place in a PSA contest for high school students to make others aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the winning 30-second video by Henry Davis and Andrew Lascurain from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, TX garnered a $1,000 cash prize for the students and $850 for the school’s A/V Department. The winning video was announced during National Teen Driver Safety Week, and students were also given the chance to ride in a simulator throughout the week to see how texting affects their driving. Davis lost two friends to distracted driving, and he hopes that his video will help his friends understand that it’s never okay to drive distracted.

St. Mary’s County School District in Maryland celebrated National Teen Driver Safety Week with an assembly stressing the dangers of distracted driving and driving while intoxicated and reminding students to buckle up. During the assembly students also pledged to drive safely and shared their fears about riding with friends who do not drive responsibly. During the year any student who applies for a parking permit must view a video on teen driver safety and talk to their school’s police officer. Since the district’s Safe Teen Driving Initiative began in 2008, more than 3,600 parking permits have been issued. According to Mike Wyant, the school district’s director of safety and security, these efforts remind teens to follow the laws of the road.

Sentinel High School in Missoula, Montana’s DECA, an association of marketing students, created a Facebook page and Twitter account to encourage students, parents, and community members to take the pledge to drive safely as part of Celebrate My Drive®, a competition sponsored by State Farm® from October 18-26. The 100-member team also sent out a daily reminder eblast to students and parents and posted a link to the pledge on the local newspaper’s Facebook page and website. The schools with the most commitments from individuals (tallied each day) will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. The winning schools will be announced on December 9.

And for those of you who are already planning activities that can be implemented in your communities and schools during next year’s NTDSW, mark your calendars for October 19-25, 2014. To share ideas for NTDSW 2014 and to learn what’s new in teen driver safety, subscribe to this blog, visit the Ride Like A Friend Facebook page, and follow @safetymd #teendriving2013.