WASHINGTON, D.C. -- What to do about teen driving? That's the question a new publication released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) attempts to answer. Developed with a grant from State Farm®, Curbing Teen Driver Crashes: An In-Depth Look at State Novice Driver Initiatives comes on the heels of MAP-21, the newly enacted surface transportation funding law, which includes incentive programs that reward states for high performance in a number of areas, including - for the first time - teen driving.
The publication, a follow-up to GHSA's 2010 Protecting Teen Drivers: A Guidebook for State Highway Safety Offices, takes a detailed look at what states are doing to address teen driver safety in six key areas:
• Strengthening Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws to ensure state have essential elements that address crash risk and skill building
• Ensuring understanding and enforcement of GDL laws by police officials
• Engaging parents in understanding, supporting and enforcing GDL laws
• Strengthening driver education and training
• Engaging teens in understanding and addressing driving risks
• Garnering consistent media coverage of teen driving
While states have made significant progress in reducing teen driving deaths, a GHSA report with preliminary data issued in February 2012 found that through the first half of 2011, deaths involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers had increased 11 percent over the previous year. This is significant since deaths involving teen drivers have been steadily declining over the past 8 years at a rate higher than any other age group on the road.
"There is no doubt that states have been working diligently to help teens survive their most dangerous driving years, as evidenced by the gains they've made in reducing teen driver crashes, injuries and fatalities," said GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, who oversaw the development of this newest teen driving publication. "But there is concern that these gains may be leveling off. GHSA encourages states and teen driving safety advocates across the nation to review the initiatives and key elements for success identified in the report and leverage them to ensure the needle continues to move in the right direction."
"The results from this latest report show that keeping teen drivers safe on the road is an ongoing and collaborative issue," said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs for State Farm. "As a leader in auto safety, State Farm is committed to working with GHSA and other safety organizations to keep our teens safe on the road."
The programs and initiatives detailed in the publication, which was researched and written by transportation safety consultant and former New Jersey State Highway Safety Office Director Pam Fischer, were identified through a survey of State Highway Safety Offices conducted by GHSA in August 2011. Additionally, an expert panel was convened to share their insights regarding new, cutting edge and/or exemplary activities that are showing or are expected to show promising results.
Expert panel members included: Christy Adams, UC Davis Medical Center; Chuck Conroy, Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, New York; Troy Costales, Oregon Department of Transportation, Safety Division; Vicki Harper, State Farm; Russell Henk, Texas Transportation Institute; Justin McNaull, AAA; Ruth Shults and Erin Sauber-Schatz, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Jim Wright, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The views and recommendations in the publication do not necessarily reflect those of State Farm or the individuals or organizations represented on the Expert Panel. Printed copies of the publication will be sent to every GHSA Member and Associate Member. A PDF version is available online at www.ghsa.org. A limited number of print copies are available and may be requested via email by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.