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Thousands Of Youth Across The Country Unite With Federal, Foundation And Corporate Leaders To Launch Global Youth Traffic Safety Month™

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To kick off Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSM), youth from across the country rallied today with National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS), federal government leaders, global partners including the Nelson Mandela family, and corporate representatives to address road and traffic safety issues to help put an end to motor vehicle crashes – the leading cause of death for teens and to celebrate the efforts of leaders working with teens to address this national crisis.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130508/DC09173-a)

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130508/DC09173-b)

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130508/DC09173-c)

GYTSM brings attention to the issue of teen safe driving as we face the high-risk summer driving months.  According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Memorial Day is the start of the deadliest time of year on the roads for teens.

The following new 2011 NHTSA statistics confirm this statement and help shed some light on the issue:

  • July 23 and July 30, 2011 (both Saturdays) tied for the deadliest days in 2011 for young people ages 15-20 on our nation's highways (25 motor vehicle deaths on each of those dates);
  • In 2011, 60 percent of 15-20 year-old passenger vehicle occupants who died in motor vehicle crashes were NOT wearing a seatbelt;
  • In 2011, for 21 percent of the fatalities in crashes involving a driver age 15 to 20, the young (age 15 to 20 years-old) driver had a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher;
  • Over 1,200 people were killed in 2011 in crashes involving underage drinking and driving.

"We all share a responsibility to help keep our youngest and most inexperienced drivers safe when they get behind the wheel," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "Global Youth Traffic Safety Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of good driving habits as we enter the summer months, and I thank all of the youth leaders across the country who are making an effort to improve road safety in their communities."

"Now is the time to do more, not less, to tackle this public health epidemic that results in more than 3,500 teen lives lost each year," said Sandy Spavone, executive director of NOYS.  A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that more 16 and 17 year-old drivers died on our nation's roadways in the first six months of 2012 than the first six months of 2011.  "Over 1,000 youth ages 15-20 die in traffic crashes during the summer season as compared to an average of 800 teen deaths during the non-summer seasons.  We therefore must renew our commitment to their safety and help them be safe on our roadways."

Overall, U.S. traffic fatality numbers for 2012, released just last week, show an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous year, reversing several years of annual declines.  A total of 1,713 more people were killed in traffic crashes in 2012 than in 2011 with a total of 34,080 lives lost, according to NHTSA data.  The fatality rate, which is the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, also rose - from 1.10 to 1.16.  While total vehicle miles traveled in 2012 increased by 9.1 billion (a .3 percent increase), fatalities increased at a much greater rate of 5.3 percent. 

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