The leading cause of death for teens in the United States is traffic crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Global Youth Traffic Safety Month was designated to highlight these tragic statistics and reduce the number of teen injuries and deaths due to highway crashes. The month of May was chosen to kick off the summer season which is a particularly dangerous time for teens on the road. The following is a press release from the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) issued yesterday (with photos added):
National Organizations For Youth Safety Celebrates
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2014 — In honor of the eighth anniversary of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month®, local youth joined members of the National Transportation Safety Board, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Governors Highway Safety Association, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and Safe Kids Worldwide today at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to address the issue of road safety on a global and national level. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Mazda Motorsports, NOYS and the Ad Council will also announce the winners of Third Annual Project Yellow Light Video Contest.
Following the event at the NTSB organized by NOYS, youth and representatives from member organizations participated in the 2nd annual Long Short Walk. The mile-long walk was created in memory of 13-year old Zenani Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter who was killed as a result of a vehicular crash.
Summer months are especially dangerous for teens on the road. As summer approaches, many of our nations teens celebrate the end of the school year with long weekend nights and big events like prom and graduation. The increasingly nice weather also results in the highways and roads being more congested with driving youth. That’s why May, before the start of the busy summer season, is designated as Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.
“Global Youth Traffic Safety Month presents an opportunity to call attention to the fact that vehicular crashes are the No. 1 killer of our youth worldwide and in the U.S.,” said Anita Boles, CEO of NOYS. NOYS is fighting back against this epidemic by engaging young people in the solution.”
After the Long Short Walk, over 100 teens will have the opportunity to take part in the hands-on “Teens and Trucks” initiative hosted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in Washington, D.C. The event and demonstrations will be supported by the Maryland State Police and Fedex Corporation. Through simulated demonstrations, teens will learn techniques for safe and cautious driving around trucks and commercial vehicles.
They will have the opportunity to sit in a machine, called a seatbelt convincer, and experience a simulated sudden 10-mile-an-hour stop in a vehicle and its impact, demonstrating the importance of wearing safety belts in the event of an incident. “Our message to teens everywhere – whether they are driving, walking or bicycling – is to stay focused and stay out of a truck’s blind spots or ‘no zones’,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In addition, NOYS and The Allstate Foundation partnered for the seventh year to host “Act Out Loud” as a signature program of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. Throughout April and May, teens in more than 200 high schools nationwide are hosting safe driving rallies as part of the “Act Out Loud” program. The program and contest encourages youth to educate their classmates and communities about three causes of fatal car crashes for teens: speeding, low seat belt use rates, and distractions caused by teen passengers.
“We continue to be amazed by the creativity and enthusiasm that the teens bring to their safe driving rallies,” said Steve Sorenson, executive vice president of product operations at Allstate. “Each year, the teams rise to the challenge and find a new way to bring a tough subject to life for their classmates and their communities.”
Participating “Act Out Loud” teams received free resources for their safe driving rallies and could earn up to $1,000 for submitting rally plans and teen safe driving designs for posters and t-shirts. Teams that submit a video or picture slide show of their rally are eligible for the grand prize of $10,000, and three runner-ups can win prizes of $2,000 each.
“To me, the ‘Act Out Loud’ rally really proved what our Traffic Education Saves Teens Club is all about,” said Darby Leimer, a sophomore at last year’s “Act Out Loud” grand prize winning school, Cookeville High School in Cookeville, Tenn. “We showed our community how and why safe driving habits are important.”
With NOYS’ focus on youth safety, Global Youth Traffic Safety Month helps organizations to engage teens in the solution and to help change such statistics as:
- 25% of car crashes involve a driver who is underage and under the influence of alcohol.
- In 2011, 60% of 15-20 year old passengers who died in motor vehicle crashes were NOT wearing a seatbelt.
- Younger drivers have the highest proportion of distraction-related crashes and, each year, nearly half a million young adults are injured due to distracted driving.
- In the last five years, pedestrian injuries among 16-19 year-olds increased 25% over the previous five years.
About National Organizations for Youth Safety
National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS) is a coalition of national organizations and federal agencies who serve youth and focus on youth safety and health. Through this coalition, NOYS influences more than 80 million young people and their adult advisors. The mission of NOYS is to build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth and encourage youth empowerment and leadership.
Since its formation, The Casey Feldman Foundation has been a supporter of NOYS. Click here to read about it.