Portrait of Young Man in his Car Showing Thumbs Up

Each year there are about 5.5 million car accidents that occur on U.S. roads. And unfortunately, a lot of those accidents involve teenage drivers. This is why 62 high schools throughout Michigan are participating in a driving program aimed to reduce the number of teens involved in traffic accidents.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning has a public-private partnership with Ford Driving Skills for Life. The program, called Strive For a Safer Drive (S4SD), gives funding to schools to promote education on safe driving.

Each school that partakes in the program will receive $1,000. Students have to design a campaign focusing on traffic safety that will be used to inform their fellow students about driving safety hazards and risks, including seat belt use, speeding, distracted driving, weather-related accidents, and drinking or impaired driving.

Once the campaign has been created, each school will submit a presentation that shows the main points throughout their campaign. Of the 62 participating schools, five campaigns will be chosen as winners and those schools will receive a cash prize between $500 and $1,500. Winning schools will also be allowed to send students to a free driving clinic to learn valuable skills from professional driving instructors.

According to Jim Graham, a global manager at Ford Driving Skills for Life, “Programs like Strive For a Safer Drive and Driving Skills for Life have been shown to be successful in helping young, novice drivers make smart decisions behind the wheel. Through hands-on learning, we hope to improve teen driver safety and decrease the risk that teen drivers pose to themselves and others.”

Programs like S4SD are in place to teach young drivers safe driving habits right from the start. Regrettably, a recent study has found that teen drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in an accident within three months after getting their license.

Researchers at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) looked at traffic cameras and software that was installed in vehicles of the study participants. There were 90 teenagers and 131 parents involved in the study.

Along with having a higher risk of being in an accident, the study found that teenagers are four times more likely to try risky driving behaviors, like fast stopping, sharp turns, and burnouts, than they were when they were driving with their learner’s permit.

Fortunately, with the help of certain programs and technology, the roads are becoming safer. While technology like drones can help in industries like engineering and architecture, they can also help spot problems on the roads and even help control traffic. There are also efforts being made to improve road conditions and even start putting autonomous vehicles on the road. But it’s up to everyone on the road to ensure they’re driving their safest.

All in all, teenagers continue to be at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident when they first start driving on their own. The S4SD program shows that schools and organizations can come together to promote safe driving.

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