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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Texas Teens Summit to Reduce Teen Driving Deaths and Save Lives

Teens Instructed in Smarter Driving Habits, Using Peer Pressure to Change Attitudes

In an effort to reduce teenage driving deaths, sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, Texas student leaders from Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties met for a day of education and empowerment for the "Keep the Drive North Texas Teen Driving Summit" at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.

"Keep the Drive" is one of more than 10 teen driving conferences sponsored by The Allstate Foundation nationwide this year. The goal of this teen-to-teen program is to channel the power of peer pressure to help teens change the way they think and act when they are in a vehicle, whether as a driver or passenger.

"The number one killer of teens doesn't have a trigger, it has a steering wheel," said Vice President of Allstate's Texas Region Rich Crist. "By hosting this Keep the Drive North Texas Summit, and others like it around the country, The Allstate Foundation wants to hand our nation's teenagers the keys to their own teen-led movement, and empower them to take on the number one killer of teens—motor vehicle crashes."

Keep the Drive North Texas Teen Driving Summit will inform teen leaders on the merits of driving smart, and help them create action plans they can implement at their schools. Schools who send teen leaders to the conference can apply for a $500 grant from The Allstate Foundation to help teen leaders put their action plans into motion, and shed the light about the consequences of having the right attitudes and making good choices behind the wheel.

"Our goal is to put youth in the driver's seat of their lives, empowering them to make decisions based on the facts," commented Ruby Moore, Event Coordinator and Student Representative for the Center for Safe Communities and Schools. "When youth make decisions for themselves, they are more likely to stick to their commitments and also share their choices with their friends. By investing in youth today, we are creating a safer tomorrow."

The Allstate Foundation commissioned a countrywide survey of teen opinions toward driving in 2005. The results were published in Chronic: A Report on the State of Teen Driving. Gleaned from the study were these teen attitudes and behaviors about driving:
• 55% of teens surveyed confessed to speeding
• 17% of teens surveyed felt that speeding is fun
• More than one fourth of teens surveyed identified themselves as aggressive drivers, and admitted speeding by more than 20 miles an hour over the limit
• 56% said they use their cell phone calls while driving
• 47% are often distracted by passengers
• 21% have been a passenger in a vehicle driven by a teen who had been drinking
• 61% take risks because they believe they are "good drivers who understand how cars work"
• 27% take risks because they aren't "thinking about consequences at the moment"

The National Safety Commission recommends The Driver Education Handbook for Parents as a valuable teaching tool for parents who are concerned with their teen's driving safety and understand the value of quality instruction.

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