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LANSING — Students at high schools across Michigan have the opportunity to help make their fellow teens better, safer drivers by taking part in this year’s Strive for a Safer Drive (S4SD) traffic safety awareness campaign.
This public-private partnership between Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) seeks to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities among new teen drivers.
Inexperience, risk-taking behavior, immaturity, and greater risk exposure are all factors that increase crash risk for young drivers. In 2017, the 15-20 age group represented 7.8 percent (80) of all traffic deaths, with 57.5 percent (46) of those deaths being the driver. Overall, 10,521 teenagers and young adults were injured in a crash in 2017 in the state.
Up to 75 schools will be selected to develop and implement a student-led, peer-to-peer traffic safety awareness campaign as part of the S4SD program. Campaign topics may include distracted driving, seat belt use, underage drinking and impaired driving, speeding, and winter driving.
Participating schools will receive $1,000 to conduct their campaign. The application deadline to apply is November 14, 2018. Following the campaign completion, cash prizes will be awarded to the top five schools. All participating schools will have the opportunity to send students to a free Ford DSFL hands-on driving clinic in the spring with professional driving instructors.
The number of participating high schools has tripled since S4SD began in 2011 – from 16 schools to a record setting 61 schools in 2018. Last year, West Shore Educational Service District Career and Technical Education Center students in Ludington won first place for their campaign titled “Drive Focused or Die Distracted.”
All Michigan high schools are encouraged to apply for the S4SD program. Participation and application information is available on Michigan.gov/s4sd.
The S4SD application process coincides with National Teen Driver Safety Week which is October 21-27. The week is an effort to raise awareness and emphasize the role parents play in keeping teens safe on the road. Its important parents have conversations with their teens about some of the greatest dangers while driving: alcohol; no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding and too many passengers in the vehicle.