ALDOT promotes teen driver safety week with pilot project

ALDOT promotes teen driver safety week with pilot project

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - As part of national Teen Driver Safety Week, the Alabama Department of Transportation today announced that it will conduct a pilot project to measure and promote teen driver safety, an emphasis area in ALDOT's Strategic Highway Safety Plan. During the next several months, students at three area high schools will participate in this project through online surveys designed to identify their driving habits.

Gov. Bob Riley recently declared October 19-25, 2008, as Teen Driver Safety Week in Alabama, and said more needs to be done to reduce the number of teen deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes. "We must do more to teach our young people safe driving habits and encourage them to use good judgment when they're behind the wheel or a passenger in a vehicle," said Gov. Riley. "One life lost on an Alabama highway is one too many, and when it's a young person with their whole life ahead of them, it's even more tragic."

In 2007, 155 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in crashes in Alabama. Many of the crashes were the result of risky driving behaviors such as speeding, distractions, and using cell phones or texting.

"We must increase our efforts to inform Alabama's young people about the actions that can contribute to hazardous driving," said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. "Identifying risky teen driving behaviors will help us learn how to share safe driving habits in a way they will understand and hopefully put to use."

The online survey will measure driving habits and behaviors of students in 10th- through 12th-grade. Questions will cover several areas including the use of electronic devices while driving, seat belt use, driving confidence and distractions. The data collected will be used to develop an education and information campaign that seeks to improve teen driving habits. Students from Marbury High School in the Autauga County School System, Wetumpka High School in the Elmore County School System and Lanier High School in the Montgomery County School System will be asked to participate in two voluntary surveys - the first this fall to establish baseline data and the second in the spring to measure post-campaign results. Participating schools and students are eligible for rewards and prizes.

ALDOT's partners in the project include the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery County school systems, the Alabama Department of Education, and national sponsors State Farm Insurance, the Center for Research Injury and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Ford Motor Co.