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HS Journalism Students Creating Safe-Driving Book for Teens

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The I Care! Project

The "I Care!" project participants at work on their book. Photo by project member Alexandra.

A group of high school students are putting together a book about safe driving that will be aimed at other teens. As Cara Fitzpatrick writes for the Sun Sentinel, the group, comprised of journalism students at South Plantation High School in Plantation, FL, believes they can reach young people in ways that other safe driving campaigns do not, because as the authors, they themselves are part of the target group.

As Fitzpatrick puts it:

Driver education classes often cite statistics about how many teenagers die behind the wheel, show videos of fiery car crashes and even display cars mangled in wrecks. But that strategy ignores an all-too-common problem when it comes to teenagers: they never think it will happen to them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, and that teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

The book project is part of a teen driver safety program called “I Care!” and is being created with a grant from State Farm Insurance, writes Robert Spencer Knotts, founder and president of The Humanity Project, the Dania Beach nonprofit organization that launched the “I Care!” program. According to Knotts, “I Care!” will be a comic book about driver safety and will also have poetry, stories, facts, and figures. Fitzpatrick notes that it will also include rap songs, quizzes, games, quotes about friendship, and a small section for parents.

Knotts writes:

[…] but all of it done in a way that teen drivers are likely to find appealing. ‘Cool,’ in other words, written by teens for teens. So for now, let me assure you the students are working hard on this project. We feel quite confident ‘I Care!’ will be different from any other teen driver safety program in the country […] and, we believe, more effective in saving lives.

Knotts has been meeting with the journalism students every Wednesday at the school, where the teens work in small groups on the various sections of the book. Knotts told Fitzgerald that the key to the book’s effectiveness is using “positive peer pressure” to influence student drivers. Fitzgerald reports that State Farm will distribute the books for free in South Florida and possibly nationwide, and the book will also be available online.

The NHTSA says there are three things that help to prevent teen driving accidents:

  • Increasing seat belt use,
  • Implementing graduated driver licensing, and
  • Reducing teens’ access to alcohol.

Image by The Humanity Project, used under Fair Use: Reporting.


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