ITASCA, Ill., Sept. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Safety Council today announced the winners of its 7th annual Teen Driving Safety Leadership Awards, supported by the General Motors Foundation. The Council will honor Arnold Anderson, public safety advocate with the Essex County Public Safety Academy in New Jersey; Dr. Arlene Greenspan and Dr. Ruth Shults of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Russell H. Henk, program director at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute; and Timothy Hollister, survivor advocate and author.
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.
"We lose more than 3,500 teens each year in preventable car crashes," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC. "It takes catalysts like this year's winners to change policies, behaviors and outcomes. We are excited to recognize their contributions to saving the lives of our most vulnerable drivers."
Anderson of Essex County, NJ, leads the Community Based Traffic Safety Program, Smarter Drivers = Safer Streets, GDL Thank You and Share the Keys. These programs help educate parents, teens, teachers and law enforcement about the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing. Since 2004, traffic deaths in Essex County have dropped by half, and teen fatalities are at an all-time low. In Newark, traffic deaths dropped 24 percent between 2009-2013.
Dr. Greenspan and Dr. Shults are pioneers in teen traffic safety issues, leading and co-authoring numerous studies on emerging teen driver topics. In 2002 and 2007, Shults partnered with other national traffic safety organizations to host international symposiums on GDL, sparking global conversations about best practice teen driving laws and policies. Greenspan and Shults's 2011 study using in-vehicle recording to document parents supervising their teens' driving led to the development of Parents are the Keys, an interactive parent orientation session. The two have been instrumental in helping states improve their GDL systems and continue to conduct research that validates the efficacy of such laws.
Henk developed and leads the Texas-based program Teens in the Driver Seat, a peer-driven outreach program that has been implemented in 1,000 Texas high schools. Since its implementation in 2002, Texas has experienced a 68 percent decrease in teen traffic deaths. As a result of this success, Teens in the Driver Seat has expanded into five other states, reaching more than 1 million students.
Hollister, who lost his 17-year-old son in a crash in 2006, played an integral role in overhauling Connecticut's teen driving laws in 2008. Since then, Connecticut has experienced a 64 percent decrease in fatal crashes among 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Hollister's blog, FromReidsDad.org, reaches 30,000 readers each month and his book, Not So Fast, is a one-stop shop resource for parents.
"GM has a decades-long commitment to improving automotive child and passenger safety," said Jeff Boyer, GM Foundation board member. "These crashes have a profound effect on families and communities. We are proud of these individuals and the actions they have taken to help save lives and make our roads safer."
Winners will receive their awards at the annual NSC Defensive Driving Courses Awards Banquet, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26 during the 2015 NSC Congress & Expo in Atlanta.
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.
SOURCE National Safety Council