Press Release - 06-08-2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Receives Grant to Further Encourage Safe Teen Driving through its “Coaches Care” Program
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) has received a $14,000 grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) to encourage teenagers to drive safely. The money will be used to host a statewide contest to expand GTSC’s Coaches Care program, which encourages high school athletic coaches to promote highway safety with their student athletes. Details of the contest will be announced later this summer.
“We are deeply appreciative for this grant and the confidence it shows in New York’s efforts to keep teen drivers, their passengers and those who share our roads with them safe,” said Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the GTSC. “Good driving habits start while you are young, and people like parents, coaches and other adults that children know and respect are role models for how to behave when you are driving. That’s why the Coaches Care program is a great way to communicate directly with young people about best practices behind the wheel.”
Created in 2016, the Coaches Care program grew out of an October 2015 report by GHSA titled “Under Their Influence: The New Teen Safe Driving Champions.” Teens were surveyed as part of the research, and 68 percent identified coaches as safe driving influences in their lives. Coaches Care uses role models with whom students regularly interact to help them learn good driving habits. GTSC provides coaches with sample talking points to help them impart valuable lessons to their students. The campaign also includes a series of school sports posters featuring teens and traffic safety messages.
Coaches are encouraged to teach their players about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Five to Drive” rules.
- No Impaired Driving.
- Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. Lead by example.
- Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
- Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
- No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.
Coaches also discuss with their students the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, designed to provide time for young people to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios in a safe and controlled manner. The Graduated License Law places restrictions on drivers under 18 years of age who have a junior learner permit or junior driver license. For more information on the GDL program and other advice for teen drivers, see the GTSC’s Younger Driver Tool-Kit.
The grant will also enable GTSC to host a hands-on traffic safety educational training event in October with students from Alfred State College and Alfred University in Allegany County. Alfred was chosen as Allegany County has one of the highest rates for fatalities and injuries involving people not wearing seat belts. The largest proportion of those killed or injured were young drivers ages 16 to 20, 23 percent compared to 11 percent statewide. The grant aims to focus on older teens and drivers of culturally diverse backgrounds. The two college campuses also have a diverse population of students that will be engaged through the training event.
Today’s announcement comes in the wake of new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research that showed newly licensed teen drivers were three times as likely as adults to be involved in fatal crashes. According to NHTSA, 1,866 teen drivers were killed in 2015 – 163 more than in 2014. Early estimates for 2016 reveal that traffic deaths continued their surge upward.
In New York, the trend in recent years had been a decline in fatal and other crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20 but preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) for 2016 shows those numbers rose slightly. A total of 99 young drivers were killed and 15,569 were injured in New York State last year, up from 97 killed and 14,633 injured in 2015. In 2010, there were 139 young drivers killed and 20,295 injured.
For more information about traffic safety in New York, please visit: safeny.ny.gov.