The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have teamed up with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) to draw attention to Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSM), which is taking place during the month of May. May has been designated as GYTSM because the summer is when more and more inexperienced teen drivers take to the road, as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood writes on his blog, Fast Lane.
NOYS hosted a safety rally on Wednesday, in Washington, D.C., to help put an end to motor vehicle accidents, which are the leading cause of death for teens, LaHood writes. The gathering included many leaders: Office of Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske; Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin; National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman; Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden; NHTSA Administrator David Strickland; South Africa Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool; former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta; and Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela.
LaHood writes that, although the lineup of leaders was impressive:
[…] it pales in comparison to the energy that the young safety advocates of NOYS bring.
These students have seen the data. They know that summer is the deadliest season of the year for teens on our roadways. They know that 60 percent of 15 to 20 year-old vehicle occupants who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2011 were not buckled up. They know that in 2011 more than 1,200 people were killed in crashes involving underage drinking and driving.
And they are applying their skills, talents, and dedication to encourage their peers to make safer choices behind the wheel.
One of the safe choices is to drive without the distraction of electronic devices. LaHood writes: “Young drivers are significantly overrepresented in fatal distraction-related crashes, yet young drivers persist in thinking they can drive safely while texting or talking on a cell phone.”
As Safercar.gov writes, there are many things a person or business can do to promote youth road safety. They can become a partner, can host an event during the month of May, and can promote the campaign on their website, social sites, blogs, and in other ways. In addition, 180 teams have registered with Act Out Loud 2013 and have already “started making NOYS” for safe team driving. The group plans more than 300 rallies during the month of May.
And as part of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, young people will “Act Out Loud to Take Back the Streets for Safety” when they participate in the United Nations Global Road Safety Week through May 12, on a pedestrian safety theme. The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 has the goal of preventing 5 million road traffic deaths. You can download the flyer here: http://www.noys.org/mydocuments/lsw_us_explanation.pdf.