Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. About a quarter of those crashes involve an underage driver who has been drinking. Beyond the teenage years, however, the risks do not diminish. 2018 data shows that 21-to-24-year olds comprise the largest percentage of drunk drivers at 27% (NHTSA). College students, aged 18-22, then, are a key population in need of education and programming surrounding impaired driving
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is a non-profit organization that, for the past 40 years, empowers young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives. SADD’s mission is accomplished by creating, equipping, and sustaining a network of student-run chapters in schools and communities focused on peer-to-peer education.
Substance abuse and traffic safety are two of SADD’s key initiatives. As such, SADD has worked to determine the scope of the impaired driving problem, specifically among 18-24-year olds on traditional and non-traditional college campuses. This report was conducted to support the development of strategies that can be used to address the identified problem. As part of this reporting, SADD reviewed existing programs and compared implemented countermeasures with current programs to understand where gaps exist.
To achieve this goal, SADD investigated what some schools are currently doing to address impaired driving and the potential ways administrators and students could disseminate messaging about the dangers of impaired driving to college-age students.
The report that follows is based on those findings. In order to develop an effective approach, this project used NHTSA data to determine areas of the country with the highest crash rates among the target age group. Pedestrian injuries and fatalities in impaired crashes were also considered, along with a review of the types of crashes (car to car, car to object, pedestrian, etc.). To learn the scope of the problem, SADD examined car and alcohol culture on a variety of campuses and, where possible, considered the connection between a school’s car use rate and impaired driving crashes involving students and non-students.
SADD worked with campuses to review enforcement efforts and increase understanding of the ways campus law enforcement officers coordinate with city, county, and state enforcement resources to prevent and monitor impaired driving and other alcohol and drug activities. Based on these findings, SADD determined what strategies would effectively decrease impaired driving among this age group and will propose the best method of delivery. SADD also identified potential ways students can take the lead and implement educational safety campaigns and programs for the benefit of their peers.
Utilizing SADD’s College Leadership Council, their network of college-age members and chapters, and relationships with school administrators, SADD reviewed existing programs at colleges, universities, community colleges, vocational schools, and in communities to determine the best strategy to reach this age group with a long-term goal of students implementing evidence-based programs in schools targeted for this age group across the country.
Rock The Belt
We are pleased to present a middle school version of Rock the Belt, a SADD national core program that uses peer-to-peer based prevention strategies to engage schools, parents, and communities about the importance of wearing seat belts in every vehicle, every seat, every time.
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens today. Of these deaths, 54% of teens (13-19 years old) were unbuckled.
Crash reports show that over the past five years, almost half of all tweens (8-14 years old) killed in crashes weren’t wearing their seat belts.
Rock the Belt is designed to address these statistics through education and engaging activities for high school and middle school students.
Mississippi SADD, in conjunction with the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety started Rock the Belt. Shortly after, a NHTSA-funded evaluation concluded that Rock the Belt increased seat belt use among teens. Indiana and Illinois SADD adopted the program, and the SADD national office named it a core SADD national program in 2015.
In 2018 and 2019, SADD chapters in Louisiana, Ohio and Tennessee tested and modified Rock the Belt activities for middle school audiences. So, what’s new in this version of Rock the Belt?
· More activities for middle school audiences
· New social media messaging and graphics for tweens, teens and parents on the importance of seat belt use
· New seat belt observation forms
· New seat belt quick quiz to measure student knowledge
· New program evaluation forms for students, parents and administrators