The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Allstate Foundation are joining forces in 2012 to reduce teen driving deaths. As part of the Teen Safe Driving Grant Program sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, eight AAP chapters (Alabama, California 4, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York 2, and Pennsylvania) have been awarded $25,000 each to develop novel approaches to strengthening graduated driver licensing laws and improving teen driving safety.
The Academy released its first policy statement recommending Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in 1996 in response to the high number of fatalities and injuries among teen drivers. As a result of over 15 years of pediatric advocacy, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a 3-tiered Graduated Licensing System for teen drivers. These include a learner’s permit, an intermediate or provisional license, and a full-privilege driver’s license. Unfortunately, the strength of these laws varies widely, with some states adopting more stringent provisions than others in specific areas such as the number of required hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training and restrictions on night time driving, teenage passengers, and mobile phone use. (For a full description of recommended provisions and state-by-state requirements, click here.) Currently no state has a law that meets all the AAP recommendations for teen driving safety.
The Safe Teen Driving Program sponsored by The Allstate Foundation awards Chapters the resources to help pediatricians educate community members, families and teens on safe teen driving practices and the importance of stronger GDL laws. Each of the eight Chapters will take a unique approach to raising awareness, educating citizens, and mobilizing support to strengthen existing laws.
The partnership between the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Allstate Foundation comes at a critical time. On February 16, 2012, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association released a report detailing the first increase in teen driver deaths in eight years, noting that “… widespread further strengthening of state GDLs is still possible, and compliance with the rules can be improved.” (To see the full report, click here.)
To read AAP articles for parents on teen safe driving, click here. For more information on the Teen Safe Driving Grant Program, contact Hollis Russinof in the AAP Division of State Government Affairs at 800.433.9016, ext 4983 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.