GHSA represents state highway safety offices that implement programs to address behavioral highway safety issues, including: driver and passenger protection, impaired driving, and speeding. GHSA works to help states improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices.
The theme of the meeting is Public Health + Highway Safety: Saving Lives Together. Participants will explore highway safety from the public health perspective, focusing on how to apply successes in public health and highway safety to continue improving safety on roads and highways. The meeting also will examine how highway safety professionals can work more closely with the public health community to make highway safety a top public health priority.
"We believe that safe driving is an important public health issue, which is why ADEPT used a scientific approach to identify the leading causes of car crashes for teen drivers and drivers over 55," said Dr. Richard Harkness, CEO of ADEPT Driver. "We developed teenSMART to specifically address the causes of teen driver crashes through the use of realistic and challenging computer-based driving simulations that improve driver skills and help teens avoid risk when they are driving. Similarly, Lifelong Driver was developed to address the major causes of mature driver collisions so that older drivers can remain safely in the driver's seat longer."
The need for driver safety programs such as teenSMART and Lifelong Driver is great. Traffic accident rates for 16- to 19-year old drivers are higher than those for any other age group, and unfortunately teen driver crash rates are not improving. In a report released earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased 11 percent between the first six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011.
Collision rates among drivers 55 and over are second only to teen drivers. Traffic fatalities involving mature drivers are expected to increase as the population of drivers in their 60s and older swells. According to a report released by TRIP, a nonprofit national transportation research group, older motorists are involved in a disproportionately high percentage of traffic fatalities. Although drivers 65 and older account for eight percent of all miles driven, they comprise 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. Older drivers are twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes as would be expected, based on the miles they drive.
By 2030, 71.5 million drivers, or approximately 1-in-4 people behind the wheel, will be age 65 or over. This fast-growing segment of our population is predicted to live 20% to 25% of their lives in active retirement. The ability to drive safely is vital to seniors maintaining their independence, freedom, mobility and quality of life. Lifelong Driver is designed for mature drivers who want to sharpen their own driving skills and for those who want to help an aging parent improve and stay safe behind the wheel longer.
Teen drivers complete the teenSMART crash reduction program on their home computer at their own pace in combination with parent-teen activities that incorporate videos, workbook exercises, and driving exercises. teenSMART has been clinically proven to reduce teen driver crashes by up to 30%. Teens that complete the program have fewer traffic citations, fewer accidents and fewer deductible payouts. Due to its proven crash reduction, a number of leading insurance companies offer discounts for teens that complete the teenSMART program, including Allstate, AAA, and Liberty Mutual.
Lifelong Driver was developed by a diverse group of internationally recognized experts who researched the leading causes of mature driver collisions. It uses real-life driving situations to improve driving skills most critical for mature drivers, allowing them to remain safely in the driver's seat longer and maintain their lifestyle and independence. The easy-to-use program includes a combination of computer based training, including point-of-view driving simulations, interactive video segments, at-home activities, and optional in-car exercises.
"Lifelong Driver is a great tune-up for experienced drivers," said Dr. Harkness. "This fun and engaging program is grounded in driving tasks that we encounter every day. Most people who use Lifelong Driver see an improvement in the way they drive in a very short time. Every older driver needs to maintain the skills and abilities addressed in Lifelong Driver and we urge folks to not wait until it's too late."
ADEPT Driver participates in the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) as a "Safety Stakeholder." The SHSP is a collaborative effort among California state agencies with responsibilities for all facets of traffic safety in California. It uses data to provide a coordinated framework for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all of California's public roads. The SHSP strategically establishes statewide goals, objectives, challenge areas, and key actions to address California's most pressing safety problems, and builds upon the strategies established by federal, state, regional, local, and private sector safety stakeholders from throughout the state. ADEPT Driver is currently a member of two SHSP Challenge Area Teams: Challenge Area 6, tasked with reducing young driver fatalities, and Challenge Area 9, tasked with improving safety for older roadway users.