ITASCA, Ill., Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Safety Council today announced the winners of its 8th annual Teen Driving Safety Leadership Awards, supported by the General Motors Foundation. The Council honors the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, the Louisiana-based Sudden Impact program and the Kansas-based Seat Belts Are For Everyone (SAFE) program.
The Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to teen driver safety by working on policy, awareness, education and outreach. The winners stood out among more than 30 nominees because their efforts have had a measurable impact on efforts to save teen lives.
"Car crashes are still the number one killer of teens, and each life lost is preventable," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC. "This year's winners all had one thing in common: reaching out to teen drivers and building partnerships in their states to really make a difference. They truly deserve to be recognized as leaders in teen driving safety."
The Sudden Impact program was created by the Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana State University Medical Center Level 1 Trauma Center. Using the combined outreach of law enforcement and the medical community, the program expanded from one New Orleans-area high school to over 90, with 15 participating hospitals. In addition to reaching over 41,000 students and parents over the past two years, Sudden Impact is working to strengthen Graduated Drivers Licensing (GLD) laws in Louisiana.
Among all driving populations, teens are the least likely to buckle up in the car, so the SAFE program was created by the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office to bring together Kansas educators, law enforcement, government, business, community and students to deliver the message of seat belt safety to teens. The organization has participation from 142 schools across 62 counties. Since SAFE's founding in 2009, Kansas has seen a 23.5 percent increase in teen seat belt use and 37 percent drop in teen driving fatalities.
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company (NJM) became involved in teen driving safety as the founding sponsor of New Jersey's "U GOT Brains" Champion Schools program. They have donated 68 driving simulators to the state's high schools and their Teen Driver Safety Program has reached nearly 66,000 students. Most recently, NJM piloted the "Safety Saves" Teen Driving challenge, which allowed students to track key driving indicators through an app and check their performance against peers. The program has expanded to six additional schools this year.
"We strive to positively influence the driving behaviors of teens to help them improve their safe driving skills and performance on the road. With the coordinated efforts of companies and organizations such as these, we can make great strides in educating teen drivers," said Jeff Boyer, vice president, General Motors Global Vehicle Safety and GM Foundation Board Member. "We are pleased to recognize these winners, whose collaborative actions will help save lives."
Winners will receive their awards at the annual NSC Defensive Driving Courses Awards Banquet, Saturday, October 15 during the 2016 NSC Congress & Expo in Anaheim.
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.
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SOURCE National Safety Council