WASHINGTON, D.C. -The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) have awarded State Highway Safety Offices in five states funding to support teen safe driving programs.
This marks the eleventh year of GHSA and Ford DSFL’s grant program, which helps states instill safe driving habits in this high-risk demographic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,908 drivers aged 15-20 years old died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, and automobile crashes remain a leading cause of overall fatalities for this age group.
“Inexperienced drivers pose a risk both to themselves and others on the road,” said Ford DSFL Global Programs Manager Jim Graham. “The latest data show young drivers were involved in 4,853 fatal crashes in 2016. We are thrilled to continue providing states the opportunity to build programs teaching teens to make smart decisions behind the wheel and work to prevent these tragic incidents.”
State grant activities include the following:
- The Delaware Office of Highway Safety partnered with the Delaware Department of Education to conduct a contest encouraging the state’s driver’s education students to create a video on how to react to law enforcement during a traffic stop. Winners of the contest were announced during the state’s Global Youth Traffic Safety Month Kickoff event, hosted in partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
- Building upon a successful program launched in 2017, the Montana State Highway Traffic Safety Office is funding peer-to-peer projects through the state’s Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members. Montana will engage additional FCCLA chapters in this statewide effort to help teens work within their communities to promote safe driving messages.
- The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is engaging nine regional traffic safety coalitions to provide teens the opportunity to produce traffic safety videos tailored to their region. Winners in each region will receive a mini-grant to develop a peer-to-peer training model and a campaign utilizing their video to educate their peers.
- The Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office is partnering with law enforcement, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, local Ford dealerships, and state safety agencies to host an event featuring ride and drive exercises and traffic safety activity stations. The event also will launch a contest encouraging participants to create safety presentations for their peers based on Ford DSFL resources.
- The Tennessee Highway Safety Office is developing National Teen Driver Safety Week event kits to engage students from high schools throughout the state. These kits include materials and resources for teens to create an educational exhibit and a sign encouraging peers to take a safe driving pledge. Each high school will additionally create an informational video on the state’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) law, to be shared on social media.
“Our work to prevent teen driver deaths is far from over,” noted GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “We are extremely grateful for Ford Driving Skills for Life’s continued support of state teen safe driving efforts and commitment to providing crucial resources for states to address this issue. We look forward to seeing the results of our 2018 grantees’ innovative programs.”