The Teens in the Driver Seat® program is celebrating their anniversary this week with the release of a 15-year report card. The report card also includes a letter from Russell Henk, director of the TDS program.
Car crashes kill more young people than any other cause, accounting for nearly half of all teen deaths in America each year. About 3,000 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes; that’s the equivalent of a school bus loaded with teenagers crashing once every week for an entire year. On a per-mile driven basis, teens are eight times more likely to die in their first six months of driving than adults. The majority of teen passenger deaths happen when another teenager is driving. For every American teen killed in a car crash, about 100 more are injured.
In the letter, Henk explains, “Before our program existed, I can still remember watching news coverage of numerous fatal teen car crashes in our community, then looking upon my own children (who were too young to drive at the time) and imagining how difficult it was for those parents to lose their child so prematurely. It was heart-breaking, gut wrenching and drove the young traffic engineer in me to action. After digging deeper into the data and realizing that car crashes were (and still are) the leading cause of injury and death for teens, I knew we had to do more. I also knew that “more of the same” solutions was not going to put a meaningful dent in this huge problem, so we set out to do something innovative as well – getting the students themselves integrally involved in the solution and giving this issue non-stop attention.”
Read the full letter on the Teens in the Driver Seat® website.