Youth Leaders Host 4th Annual Teen Distracted Driving Summit to Help Eliminate Deadly Epidemic of Texting and Driving
NTSB Acting Chairman Hersman and NHTSA Administrator Strickland Provide Keynote Addresses
WASHINGTON--Sept. 20, 2013: Nearly 150 youth and adults from across the country are participating today in the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) 4th Annual Teen Distracted Driving Summit. Summit attendees will attend impactful presentations, participate in interactive training activities and discuss creative ways to fight distracted driving back in their hometowns.
Student attendees were selected in teams of two through a competitive process by outlining their interest in traffic safety and desire to join the distracted driving prevention effort. Student attendees hailed from high schools in: Brawley, CA; Torrance, CA; Newcastle, IN; Springfield, KY; Seekonk, MA; Fulda, MN; Norfolk, NE; Freehold, NJ; Mamaroneck, NY; Bedford, OH; Springfield, OH; Tulsa, OK; Hopkins, SC; Brookings, SD; and Logan, UT.
The Summit, sponsored by AT&T and State FarmŽ, provided teens an opportunity to hear from distracted driving crash victims and national transportation officials, and meet with exhibitors showcasing products and information about the latest technology to improve traffic safety and eliminate distracted driving.
The National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman stated in her keynote address to the youth attendees, "You know that sometimes doing the right thing is unpopular, but you are the passionate leaders among your peers. You can lead your generation to recognize that it is socially unacceptable to ride with someone who is distracted."
A Centers for Disease Control study showed that nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older admitted to sending a text or email while driving.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David L. Strickland told the students, "Deaths and injuries from distracted driving are 100 percent preventable and NOYS has the power to be part of the solution. I am so proud of what you are doing for your generation and for the Nation."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2011 involving a distracted driver, up from 3,267 fatalities in 2010. That same year, an additional 387,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
"We are excited to be part of the 4th Annual NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit," said Andrea Brands, Director of Consumer Education and Safety at AT&T. "Today's Summit activities will allow us to build on yesterday's great rally on Drive 4 Pledges Day and encourage youth to continue to spread the message that no text is worth a life."
"Safe driving is something to celebrate, and State Farm is proud to sponsor today's summit with AT&T," said Sue Sampson, Public Affairs Specialist, State Farm Insurance. "Together with NOYS, we're equipping young people with tools and resources to help them take action to prevent crashes, reduce injuries and save lives."
Reggie Shaw of West Jordan, Utah, who was involved in a tragic crash while texting when he was 19 stated that "Many people think that it can't happen to me or I'm good at texting while driving, but I am here to tell you that it can happen to anyone." Reggie is now an advocate against texting and driving and the subject of a new documentary film called "From One Second to the Next."
Other speakers at the Summit will include Jennifer Smith, Founder, Distraction Advocate Network; Joel Feldman, Founder, Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation; and Zach Veach, 18-year-old Professional Racecar Driver and Inventor of urTXT app. Attendees will also hear from an expert with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety about the latest research in technological advances and received a demonstration of a product that prevents a cell phone from operating while a vehicle is in motion.
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