SADD Students In Ohio Win National Safe Driving Contest
Marlborough, Mass. (May 28, 2014) – Youth leaders from the Northwestern High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter in Springfield, Ohio captured first place and won $2,500 in a nationwide driving skills contest sponsored by SADD and The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF). The prize money will support the local traffic crash prevention programs developed by the teens.
“Traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens, and young drivers are involved in fatal crashes at three times the rate of older drivers,” said Penny Wells, SADD President and CEO. “Many crashes are due largely to teens’ driving inexperience and this contest is designed to help build awareness of driving risks. Throughout our 33 years, SADD students have left a tangible mark on American society, representing a culture change on the issue of impaired driving. Today, our students are teaching their peers about other challenges they face behind the wheel.”
The #DrivingSkills101@UrTurn contest challenged teens to create a safe driving campaign with three goals of gaining school involvement, media engagement and community interaction. Students at each participating school were afforded the opportunity to determine which aspect of driving skills they wanted to tackle, ranging from blind spots, handling intersections, left turns, lane changes, merging into traffic, as well as speeding and tailgating.
“Seven teens ages 16 to 19 die every day in motor vehicle crashes,” said Jason Demeter, student spokesperson at Northwestern High School SADD. “Our Drive Smart, Drive Safe program provided new knowledge and skills to better prepare young drivers and decrease these alarming statistics.”
The chapter's Drive Smart, Drive Safe program, conducted in two parts, included in-school announcements, “Rules of the Road” videos, educational posters and activities to expose the entire student body to the campaign during lunchtime over two days. The SADD chapter safety committee members staffed a booth at lunch both days, providing a special video and tips on safe driving techniques with a goal of reducing speeding and tailgating and improving a driver’s understanding of handling blind spots.
The group also organized a special event where students played “blind side basketball,” wearing special goggles which limited their peripheral vision. This created a fun and highly visual way to see how difficult it is to function without seeing all that is around them, highlighting the dangers of operating a vehicle without being aware of and checking blind spots. The "blindside basketball" activity gained coverage in the local media. Northwestern students also signed a jumbo poster, pledging to change their driving behavior by being aware of blind spots.
This year’s contest and campaign rollout are the second phase of the NRSF/SADD partnership. The #DrivingSkills@UrTurn concept was vetted by a dozen youth leaders comprising the SADD National Student Leadership Council. Winning entries were judged on information and messaging, creativity, teen-friendliness and engagement by the school, community and media. The second-place winner, the Allegheny Teen Safe Driving Committee of Pittsburgh, Pa., received $1,500 from NRSF and third-place winner, Crisfield Academy & High School SADD of Crisfield, Md., won a $500 grant award.
“We are excited to support SADD’s work and mission of empowering young people to promote positive decision-making, especially involving driving,” said Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations for The National Road Safety Foundation. “This latest campaign aligns perfectly with our goals of preventing teen injuries and deaths on America’s roadways. We look forward to continuing this strong partnership with SADD and offering more young people opportunities to better inform their peers about safe driving.”
About The National Road Safety Foundation