State, partners target distracted driving for National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 18, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011

Officials plan to highlight teenage motorists’ districted-driving stories during National Teen Driver Safety Week.

For National Teen Driver Safety Week, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission joined State Farm and Clear Channel Radio to develop a project aimed at reducing distracted-driving collisions among teens.

The annual observance is celebrated through Saturday.

Radio announcers on Clear Channel stations popular among teenagers — KUBE-FM and KISS-FM — plan to solicit personal stories from teens about distracted-driving experiences. Organizers plan to then develop the stories into YouTube videos and radio public-service announcements.

“Our goal is to develop a peer-to-peer education project where teens are educating their fellow teens about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Andrew McVicar, State Farm public affairs specialist.

Collision injury and death data shows distracted driving is a growing problem among teens, due to the popularity of cellphones and other mobile devices. Nationwide, almost 5,500 people die each year as a result of distracted driving. Teenagers have the highest proportion of distraction-related crashes.

The state commission received a $50,000 grant from State Farm for the project. Other project partners include the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the University of Washington Medical Center and Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“We are grateful for the ongoing partnership with State Farm and their support of traffic safety initiatives,” Washington Traffic Safety Commission Director Lowell Porter said. “During times of diminishing resources, financial support from State Farm makes a significant difference as we work to reduce the numbers of those killed and injured on Washington roads.”

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