Local teens attending summit will bring message home to share within their communities
Fort Wayne, Ind. – Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 – Parkview Health’s trauma prevention coordinator has been selected to share the ‘Don’t Text & Drive’ message with a national audience. Parkview Health’s Lori Hunt, along with four area teens, will participate in the Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit, December 1-3 in Washington, DC. The three day event includes interactive training activities and presentations. The four area teens will also participate in workshops, teaching them how to address texting while driving in their local communities. Hunt will be sharing Parkview’s ‘Don’t Text & Drive’ message to the national audience on Sunday.
Working with peers from across the country, Hunt and the four area teens will help develop a national youth action plan that they will bring back to their communities to help stop distracted driving. Activities will take place throughout the school year and culminate in May during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.
“It’s been our mission from the start to educate as many people as we can about the dangers of texting while driving in hopes of saving lives,” said Lori Hunt, trauma prevention coordinator for Parkview Trauma Centers . “To be recognized as a leader in this movement and given the opportunity to share our campaign strategies with more than 100 other youth from around the country is truly an honor.”
Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, but teen drivers are already 4 times more likely than adult drivers to be involved in a crash1. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and our youngest drivers are among the most at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the keynote speaker at the summit. “I’m thrilled these young ambassadors will be spreading the word to fellow teens in their communities that texting and driving don’t mix.”
Zach Bennett, Fort Wayne Snider High School Student Council President, will be a part of the four-teen team from the greater Fort Wayne area. They will be one of 19 teams from across the country that will bring home the distracted driving initiative to their communities.
"I am so excited to be attending this summit because distracted driving is a real problem among my peers,” says Bennett. “I look forward to learning more about how to start an effective campaign and bringing that back to Snider High School. I’m confident this summit will give me the tools I need to influence change. I believe peers reaching peers is the most effective way to really change behaviors."
The youth will meet with federal and state leaders, learn about the distracted driving issue, preventive efforts and then create a youth action plan to address this issue from a youth perspective.
"The foundational goal of the work of the NOYS Coalition is that youth prevention efforts be done with youth and not to youth. We are looking forward to the leadership of these youth to provide direction and implementation of teen distracted driving prevention initiatives all across the country," said Sandy Spavone, NOYS Executive Director.
This initiative is made possible through the generous support of the primary Summit sponsor, AT&T, in addition to Operation Lifesaver, Chartis Insurance, Chrysler, Ford, Nationwide Insurance, Toyota, and Make Roads Safe.
More information is available at www.noys.org.
National Organizations for Youth Safety
Founded in 1994, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) is a coalition of over 60 national organizations, business and industry leaders, and government agencies with one common goal, to promote safe and healthy behaviors among America’s youth. Through this network, NOYS influences more than 80 million youth and adults. The mission of the NOYS Coalition is to promote youth empowerment and leadership, and build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth. NOYS created Global Youth Traffic Safety Month to empower youth to develop and lead teen traffic safety projects that will positively impact their communities.