Monday, 17 June 2024

Program aims to save lives of teen drivers

SACRAMENTO – Top education, legislative and law enforcement leaders and others joined today to announce this year’s launch of Impact Teen Drivers, an exciting statewide awareness program designed to save the lives of beginning teen drivers by using a variety of engaging and dynamic educational tools.


The statistics prove that more action is needed to prevent teen deaths.


In addition to the high rate of teen drivers who are involved in a collision in their first year of driving, nationally the fatal crash risk per mile driven by 16-year-olds is twice that of 18- to 19-year-olds and about seven times the risk for drivers ages 30-59.


The Impact Teen Drivers program will coincide with Teen Driving Safety Week, which began Monday.


During Teen Driving Safety Week, California school teachers are being asked to share the materials that were delivered to every public high school in the state with students who are either just learning to drive or who have just received their driver’s license.


“The Legislature, by adopting resolutions authored by Sen. Allen Lowenthal (D- Long Beach), and Assemblymember Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), saw the importance of bringing attention to the imperative need of reducing teen auto collisions – the No. 1 killer of our beginning drivers,” said Jon Hamm, president of Impact Teen Drivers and chief executive officer of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, one of the founding sponsors of Impact Teen Drivers.


Impact Teen Drivers has also launched a Website (www.impactteendrivers.org) with resources for teachers, interactive elements, fast facts for parents and teens and an interactive wall for people to create their own memorials to remember friends lost in collisions. MySpace and Facebook pages have also been developed.


Commissioner Joe Farrow of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), added, “Our officers tell us one of the most stressful parts of their job is when they have to tell the parents of a teen that their child was killed in an automobile crash. We are proud to play a role in this educational program that could reduce collisions, save motorists from injury or death and keep a parent or family member from receiving heartbreaking news.”


Impact Teen Drivers is excited to announce this year a new “Create Real Impact” classroom grant program. Many grants will be awarded to California high schools who find innovative and creative ways to use the Impact Teen Drivers program or materials. From a PSA put together by a video production class to a teacher-led school service project, Impact Teen Drivers will reward original and inventive ways schools use their program to reach teen drivers and help them make good decisions behind the wheel.


“This is an extremely smart approach,” Farrow noted. “Impact Teen Drivers is using teams to get this critically important message through to their peers. This is a win-win; the teen or classroom developing the messaging wins a grant and his or her classmates win by hearing a message that will change their driving behavior.”


“I want to applaud the groundbreaking work that all those involved with the Impact Teen Drivers program have accomplished. It is important to remember that there is much work to be done. The driver fatality rate for 16-year-old drivers is simply unacceptable. I look forward to working with law enforcement, educators and parents to ensure that we are doing everything we can to encourage safe teen driving and prevent these unnecessary tragedies,” said Assemblyman Mike Eng.


Impact Teen Drivers, prepared to meet the challenge, is also sponsored by the California Teachers Association and California Casualty Insurance.


The list of supporters also includes the CHP, California State Firefighters Association, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, and the Association of California Schools Administrators.


The program has a vast number of volunteers, including students who served as advisors in developing the program materials, teachers and parents of teens killed in crashes.


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