TEEN DRIVERS TAKE THE WHEEL IN ADDRESSING THE NATION'S NO. 1 KILLER OF TEENS DURING FIRST-EVER NATIONAL TEEN DRIVER SAFETY WEEK
100 Teens Gather in Washington, D.C. for State Farm® Youth Summit to Develop Real Solutions That Can Reverse the Trend of Teen Deaths on the Road
Bloomington, Ill., Oct. 15, 2007 / PRNewswire / – The equivalent of a classroom of teens dies each day in vehicle crashes. State Farm® is asking young drivers to take the wheel in helping prevent teen fatalities on the road. As part of the first-ever National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 15-19, 100 teens from coast to coast are convening in Washington, D.C. today for a State Farm student-led youth summit to talk about real solutions that can change driving behaviors and help save lives. The young drivers will take the findings back to their communities to activate best practices.
State Farm and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia® actively joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) in his push for a National Teen Driver Safety Week. Held the third week of each October, it encourages parents, young drivers, lawmakers and educators to work together to change risky driving behaviors and help save lives. Congressman Dent and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) joined with more than 50 co-sponsors on June 6, 2007 to introduce the bipartisan resolutions in Congress to create the week.
"Vehicle crashes continue to kill teens in communities across the country, and through State Farm's research with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia we've discovered the true tragedy is that most of the deaths are preventable," said Laurette Stiles, vice president of Strategic Resources for State Farm. "Our work focuses on more than just messages about teen driving. We've conducted groundbreaking research and have made a commitment to continue research and implement evidence-based solutions with help from teen drivers."
During the student-led youth summit, young drivers will address graduated driver licensing laws, best driving practices and solutions for reducing distracted driving. Facilitated by State Farm, the 100 high school students will identify an action plan for their own communities.
"Too often we hear about young lives being cut tragically short by vehicle crashes that could have been avoided," Congressman Dent said. "This is a busy time of year for teenagers. I believe it appropriate we take the time now to help our young people adopt safe and responsible driving habits for life."
As part of its efforts during National Teen Driver Safety Week, State Farm is issuing a handbook with tips for parents on how to improve their teens' driving, including giving teens as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible and not allowing other passengers to ride in their vehicle for at least six months. The handbook is available through State Farm agents and at www.BetterTeenDriving.com.
Teen Driving Fatalities a National Epidemic
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 7,000 16 to 20-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2006. In recent months, teen deaths caused by risky driving behaviors have brought a surge of media attention to the issue. In June 2007, five New York teenagers died in a fiery crash when their sport utility vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting a tractor-trailer. Authorities cited common risk factors such as nighttime driving, text messaging, and driving with multiple passengers in the vehicle as possible causes of the tragedy that rocked a small community to its core.
A national survey conducted by State Farm and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia earlier this year provided some surprising insights into the teen driving environment, including the fact that while teens are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, they may not realize the risks of other driving distractions and behaviors, such as fatigued driving, speeding, using handheld devices, and driving with multiple teen passengers.
Working together for more than 10 years, State Farm and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have a proven track record in conducting research and implementing programming that have helped reduce injuries and fatalities to children in motor vehicle crashes through their Partners for Child Passenger Safety initiative. Through their leadership in education, research and advocacy around auto safety, the partners are now focused on helping teens become safer drivers. State Farm also is working with other partners like the National Youth Leadership Council to put research into action in communities across the country.
Parents and teens can learn more about the latest research and recommendations on safe driving for teens at www.BetterTeenDriving.com.
About State Farm
State Farm® insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the United States and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve more than 76 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.7 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.
About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric health care professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit www.chop.edu.
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