To highlight awareness of the importance of teen driving safety, youth from across the country joined with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), leaders from the federal government, global partners, corporate members and others to kick off the Global Youth Traffic Safety Month at a rally in Washington, D.C. on May 8.
The focus of the activities during the month of May is to bring an end to motor vehicle crashes, the number one killer of teens, as well as to recognize the efforts of leaders working with youth to address this serious crisis.
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month 2013 - U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, Washington, D.C.Enlarge Photo
Facts on teen driving fatalities
Memorial Day at the end of May marks the beginning of the deadliest time of the year for teen driving fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics from 2011 show the magnitude of the problem:
- During two Saturdays in July 2011 (July 23 and July 30), 25 motor vehicle deaths of teens between the ages of 15 and 20. These were the two deadliest days for teen motor vehicle deaths that year.
- Sixty percent of the teen occupants who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2011 were not wearing a seatbelt.
- In 21 percent of the deaths in crashes involving a driver aged 15 to 20, the young driver had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher.
- More than 1,200 people were killed in 2011 in motor vehicle crashes involving underage drinking and driving.
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) showed that more 16- and 17-year-old drivers died on America’s roadways in the first six months of 2012 than the first six months of 2011. According to Sandy Spavone, executive director of NOYS, “Over 1,000 youth ages 15-20 die in traffic crashes during the summer season as compared to an average of 800 teen deaths during the non-summer season.”
And, overall, U.S. traffic fatality numbers for 2012 increased 5.3 percent over the year prior. This marks a reversal after several years of annual declines. NHTSA data show a total of 34,080 lives lost in 2012, an increase of 1,713 people over 2011 traffic fatalities.
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month 2013 - NHTSA Admin. David Strickland & youth, Washington, D.C.Enlarge Photo
Washington, D.C. rally
Officials present at the rally in Washington, D.C. held at the Jefferson Memorial, included U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden, NHTSA’s David Strickland, South Africa Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, and Kweku Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela.
Elsewhere around the country, events in support of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month:
- AT&T hosted an It Can Wait event at Grady Spring High School in Dallas, TX where students were encouraged to take the pledge to never text and drive. Students also got to experience the AT&T 3D driving simulator that simulates the dangers of distracted driving. Click here for more information on the It Can Wait campaign.
- The Allstate Foundation and NOYS have partnered to host Act Out Loud as the key program o Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, at two rally events in Gillespie, Illinois and Edison, New Jersey. For more information about Act Out Loud, click here.
- Ford Driving Skills for Life marked the 10th anniversary of its implementation of teen safe driving programs by highlighting Strive 4 a Safer Drive. This signature program encourages teens to create safe driving campaigns with their peers for a chance to participate in the Ford Driving Skills for Life hands-on training. Strive 4 a Safer Drive is in partnership with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and Michigan AAA.