Press Release - 10-18-2019

GTSC News banner


Friday, October 18, 2019   

Lisa Koumjian
[email protected]

Darren Boysen
[email protected]



First-Ever SADD State Coordinator to Mobilize SADD Chapters and Expand Awareness Efforts Across the State

National Study Finds New York Safest in the Nation for Teen Drivers for Third Consecutive Year

National Teen Driver Safety Week October 20 to 26


The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today announced a new partnership with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to prevent teen driving tragedies and improve safety on New York’s roadways.  Through this partnership, SADD has established its first-ever State Coordinator position to mobilize SADD chapters and expand awareness efforts across the state. GTSC is proud to announce this new partnership as it marks National Teen Driver Safety Week which runs from October 20-26. In addition, for the third year in a row, a national study ranked New York the safest state in the nation for teen driving. 

“GTSC works year-round to make sure young drivers are properly prepared to drive,” said GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “We are grateful to be working together with SADD to strengthen our existing initiatives and to reach more teens through peer-to-peer education, which is proven to be effective. Helping teens develop safe driving habits will help prevent tragedies on our roads and save lives.”

“SADD is well known in New York and has such potential to change the culture of teen driving. This Coordinator role will ensure that teens themselves have the resources and support they need to empower their peers to make safe choices behind the wheel,” said the new SADD New York State Coordinator, Lauren Zimmerman-Meade. “I look forward to building and expanding our chapters to implement effective peer-to-peer initiatives like Rock the Belt and TextLess Live More to increase teen driving safety throughout the Empire State.”

In her role as the SADD State Coordinator, Lauren Zimmerman-Meade will build upon GTSC’s work promoting safe teen driving by creating, equipping, and sustaining a network of student-run chapters in schools and communities focused on peer-to-peer education. The coordinator will support chapters by keeping them active, informed and engaged in statewide and national programs, activities, and initiatives that encourage traffic safety. Furthermore, the coordinator will identify communities with a high rate of teen crashes and help implement specific activities that address dangerous driving behaviors.

This new partnership comes as New York State marks National Teen Driver Safety Week, which serves as a reminder to parents, teachers, coaches and adult mentors to talk to teens about important rules they need to follow to stay safe on the road.

New York has consistently remained a national leader in teen driving safety. This year, a WalletHub study found New York was again the top state in the nation for teen driver safety. New York was previously ranked number one for safety in 2017 and 2018. The study analyzed the teen driving environment in each of the 50 states using nearly two dozen key metrics which focused on safety, economic environment, and driving laws. In addition to getting the highest safety ranking, New York ranked top five in the following categories:

  • Fewest teen driver fatalities per teen population;
  • Fewest teen DUIs per teen population; and
  • States with at least 5 optimal Graduated Driver License Law provisions

A major component of New York’s teen traffic safety is the Graduated Driver License Law (GDL). The GDL places restrictions, such as nighttime driving rules and passenger limits, on drivers under 18-years-of-age who have a junior learner permit or junior driver license. The law is intended to provide time for teens to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios in a safe and controlled manner.

The GDL is improving the safety of teens drivers in the state. According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, the number of fatal crashes in New York from 2003 to 2018 involving drivers 16- and 17-years-of-age declined more than 59 percent, and personal injury crashes dropped 63 percent, during the same time frame.

GTSC reaches teen drivers and promotes traffic safety through a variety of events and programs throughout the year such as Coaches Care, Battle of the Belts, and No Empty Chair.  

For more information on the GDL and other advice for teen drivers and parents, visit the Resources for Young Drivers, and Parent's Guide to Teen Driving pages on the DMV's website and the GTSC's Younger Driver Tool-Kit.

For more information about GTSC, visit, or follow the GTSC conversation at Facebook and Twitter