For the past four years, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has partnered with Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) in a combined effort to decrease the number of teen distracted driver fatalities across the state. Through engaging presentations in schools, the ITD program reaches thousands of teens and parents each year to show how using a cellular telephone, texting, and other distractions while driving can have fatal consequences. Teenagers are considered at most risk for distracted driving, and the CHP and ITD are dedicated to reversing what is a completely preventable crisis.
“Every year in California, more than 800,000 licensed teenage drivers are involved in a collision. Unfortunately, hundreds of those collisions result in death,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Working with Impact Teen Drivers, our goal is to protect these inexperienced drivers through education. The more a driver knows, the more they can do to prevent these collisions.”
The fatality rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is three times higher than for drivers ages 20 to 69 (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2013). In an effort to lower this statistic, the ITD program’s message is simple: Focus on the road ahead and get to where you are going safely.
“Distracted driving is the traffic safety challenge of our generation,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of ITD. “Just as reducing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and increasing seat belt use required a strong combination of education and enforcement to effect culture change, so too will stopping the current epidemic of distracted driving. We focus on beginning drivers both because they are at the greatest risk, and because they are just beginning to develop their driving habits.”
The grant-funded Teen Distracted Drivers Education and Enforcement V campaign consists of an education component, as well as teen distracted driver enforcement operations to be conducted throughout the state until Sept. 30, 2016.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.