In conjunction with Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is proud to announce that its award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) teen safe driving program will provide grant funding to seven State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to supplement their outreach to teens going through the Graduated Driver Licensing process. This is the eighth consecutive year that Ford DSFL has offered these grants. This year, the total amount awarded is $125,000.
All GHSA members were invited to apply. GHSA and Ford DSFL reviewed the applications and are excited to share that Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Washington were selected to receive funding this year.
- The Delaware Office of Highway Safety will host two community events for teen drivers and their parents in the fall. Through the support of the state’s Teen Driver Task Force and other partners, parents and teens will participate in several interactive stations together to build their driving relationship in a positive way. Parents will hear from a fellow parent who lost his son in a car crash; and teens will get to meet with a young man who suffered a brain injury in a crash at the age of 14.
- The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is planning an event in conjunction with the state’s bi-annual Youth and Young Adult Leadership Conference next February. The agenda will include local and nationally recognized motivational speakers. The driving event will provide teens the opportunity to participate in several traffic safety activities such as impaired and distracted driving simulations.
- The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Traffic Safety Division is holding a teen driving conference in the fall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. In addition to visiting partner information booths, students will have the opportunity to participate in additional activities and breakout sessions, focused on safe driving. Hands-on driving stations will include a SKID car simulator to teach vehicle handling on wet, slippery pavement and an Emergency Vehicle Operator’s Course.
- The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office will sponsor “Teen Post-Game” programs at several high schools in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. regions. These no-cost events will be offered to students after athletic sporting events, as an alternative to driving and potentially engaging in underage drinking. Event activities will include impaired and distracted driving activities and simulators, a seat belt “convincer,” and the Share the Road program to demonstrate blind spots and hazards around large commercial vehicles. New public and private partnerships will be developed to support the events, including high school youth groups.
- The Highway Safety Division of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research is instituting a community-based pilot educational outreach program aimed at drivers age 16 to 20 and their occupants. Through presentations and workshops, the program will address four areas of concern for teen drivers: seat belt usage, distracted driving, speeding and underage drinking and driving.
- The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will conduct a multi-faceted eight-day event in Niagara County, where teen drivers have a higher rate of unrestrained injuries and fatal crashes and speed and alcohol-related crashes than the statewide average. Individual stations will be designed to increase students’ awareness of hazard recognition, vehicle handling, unsafe speed and space management, as well as the dangers of impaired operation and distracted driving.
- Washington is among several states grappling with the issue of legalized marijuana. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission will work with high school programs – such as cheer teams, debate squads, and athletic clubs – to promote and measure the impact of conversations between teens and their parents on the topic of marijuana and its effect on driving ability. Participating groups will receive a modest stipend to support their program.
“During Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, it’s important to remember that while car crashes continue to be the number one killer of teens in the United States, many states and local governments face a shortage of resources to address this critical issue,” said Kendell Poole, GHSA Chairman and Director of the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “I am thrilled that GHSA has been able to partner with Ford Driving Skills for Life to support state teen driving efforts.”
Since its inception in 2003, Ford DSFL has reached nearly every state with its wide array of teen driving programs and activities. In addition to the state grants, Ford DSFL is taking its hand-on teen driver training on the road this summer, visiting Northern California; Fargo, North Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wisconsin; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Cheyenne, Wyoming, with more locations coming on board in the fall. The latest schedule is available at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
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.