Long Valley, New Jersey -- When it comes to texting and driving, teens know its unsafe but they’re doing it anyway. And that has prompted the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition to include a hands-on distracted driving course at this year’s statewide Teen Safe Driving Summit.
The teen-led summit, GDL4U: Good Driving for Life,
will be held Saturday, May 12 at iPlay America, New Jersey’s premiere indoor theme park located off Route 9 in Freehold. The event gives teens 14-16 years of age and their parents the opportunity to learn about the dangers young people face on the road and what they can do to address those risks through a series of workshops and presentations. In addition to focusing on distraction, teens will also discuss the impact drugs and alcohol have on their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, the importance of seat belt use, and the dangers prompted by passengers and nighttime driving.
“No other age group on the road has a higher crash risk and nothing kills more teens than car crashes,” said Pam Fischer, Coalition Leader. “But we have a tool -- graduated driver licensing or GDL -- that families can leverage to address the problem. Through the Summit, teens and adults work together and with their respective peer groups to learn how and why GDL reduces crash risk. Armed with this information, they’re empowered to put the proven principles of New Jersey’s GDL program -- which has
cut teen driver fatalities in half over the past decade -- to work for them.”
Engaging teens and parents in a discussion about driving as early as possible is critical since teens begin thinking about driving as young as 13. Despite this early interest, just 1 in 5 parents, according to a Safe Kids Worldwide study, are discussing the topic with their younger teens. Having the
discussion is critical since a child passenger’s risk of dying in a crash involving a teen driver doubles, and the risk continues to rise for each teen year.
Summit keynote speaker Maryanne Abbate, whose story in chronicled in the feature film “The Fifth Quarter,” knows all too well the dangers posed by novice drivers. Her 16-year-old son Luke was killed while riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a teen. She will be joined at the event by the mother-daughter duo of Kristen and Megan Lavery, who have made educating teens and their parents about teen crash risk a priority after four football players who attended their Southern New Jersey high school died in a car crash last August. The driver who was killed in the crash was 17 and his passengers (there were 7 in the vehicle) who died were 15, 16 and 17 years of age.
The cost to participate in the Teen Safe Driving Summit, which includes lunch, giveaways and an iPlay America voucher, is $15 per teen and one parent or $25
per family. To register visit www.njteendriving.com/good-driving-for-life. Questions about the summit may be directed to email@example.com. For directions
to iPlay America, visit www.iplayamerica.com. To learn more about the Teen Safe Driving Coalition, visit www.nsc.org/njteens-gdl4u.