Superintendent Juneau encourages students to 'Ride Like A Friend'
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
By Faith Moldan
The “Ride Like A Friend” campaign is being rolled out in schools across the country this week, October 17-23, to encourage good passenger behaviors that can reduce teen drivers’ crash risk. National Teen Driver Safety Week helps educate both parents and teens about this important safety issue.
Montana has the seventh highest rate of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers, with distracted driving – visual distractions, cognitive distractions, and manual distractions – playing a role in those crashes. In 2009 young drivers in Montana had 3,795 property crashes, 1,435 injury crashes and 40 fatal crashes.
“The number of fatalities among teen drivers in Montana is too high,” said Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Continued education on driver’s safety for both teens and parents is important in keeping these young people alive and successful.”
Governor Brian Schweitzer signed House Bill 238 into law on April 24, 2009, establishing the third Tuesday in October “Teen Driver Safety Day” in Montana. The new law was a result of the lobbying efforts of three teens from Belt, Mont. Sam Keaster, Mariah Gondeiro, and Jessica Anderson worked with State Representative Mike Milburn to reach their goal of reducing the number of crashes involving teens on Montana’s roads.
Teen drivers account for 6.4 % of the total drivers in the United States, but account for 14% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes. Nearly half of all car crashes involving teen drivers have one or more passengers in the vehicle with the driver, but there are ways to prevent these numbers from rising.
For more information about teen driving safety, please visit www.nhsta.gov, www.distraction.gov, and www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov. More information for parents is available at www.raisingsafedrivers.com. Teen drivers can find tips on how to “Ride Like A Friend” at www.rideLike Afriend.com. Another source for parents, educators, and teens: http://www.teendriverssource.org/.