NSC Creates New Award, Honors First Three Winners

The National Safety Council on Oct. 24 announced the winners of its new Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award, designed to recognize exceptional contributions to preventing deaths and injuries involving teen drivers. In bestowing the awards, the council noted that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities, accounting for 38 percent of all teen deaths in the United States.
 
The three inaugural honorees are the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety, the Johnson & Johnson Global SAFE Fleet Leadership Team (in collaboration with The Driving Center), and the Anoka High School Students Against Destructive Decisions Leadership Team.
 
According to NSC, the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety led the state's Teen Driver Study Commission, which issued a report that takes a holistic approach to improving teen driver safety. The report includes 47 recommendations, 14 of which are considered essential for stemming the tide of teen crashes, including a first-in-the-nation requirement that Graduated Driver License (GDL) holders display a decal on their vehicles. The decal, as well as several other changes to the GDL law, were subsequently enacted by the New Jersey legislature and signed by Gov. Jon Corzine earlier this year. These changes give New Jersey one of the best GDL systems in the nation, NSC said, adding that it bestowed the award the award to the division also in recognition of its efforts to educate teens and parents.
 
Johnson & Johnson's corporate program is designed to educate parents about the risks of teen driving through what NSC deems a unique and compelling video titled "In the Blink of an Eye." The video discusses behaviors that parents can model as their children are growing up and the actions parents should take as their children reach driving age. NSC said the work is an examplary example of how employers can educate their employees and others about safety issues that affect them outside of work.
 
The team from Anoka High School in Minnesota was recognized for its leadership in developing public service announcement campaigns to educate peers about reckless driving and seat belt use, developing a social networking campaign to teach their peers about teen traffic safety, advocating the passage of GDL laws and the Minnesota primary seat belt law, creating two rap songs--one to encourage seat belt use and another to drive home the message that "texting and driving is a crime," engaging college athletes to speak at their high school about seat belts, and joining with a statewide group of students who rallied at the state capitol in support of the Minnesota primary seat belt law.
 
The new Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award, sponsored by General Motors, recognizes demonstrated and consisten commitment to teen driving safety leadership, including:
  • Leadership of efforts to adopt best practices that save lives and prevent injuries
  • Enacting legislation based on proven safety methods
  • Enhancing public understanding of teen driving safety issues; and
  • Advocating proven prevention strategies.
NSC President and CEO Janet Froetscher presented the awards at the council's Defensive Driving Course Awards Banquet on Saturday.
 
"These three honorees were selected from 40 nominees across the nation because of their demonstrated commitment to use proven methods to save the lives of teens," she said. "These award winners represent excellence from the public sector, private sector, and young people themselves. The scientific evidence is clear that Graduated Driver Licensing, parental involvement, primary seat belt laws, and peer-to-peer teen programs each have measurable impact in saving lives. These three honorees used one or more of these proven methods in their programs. We are confident their efforts are preventing crashes and injuries and saving lives."

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