Car crashes have been the leading cause of death for 14- to 18-year-olds for more than 30 years.
In an effort to curb this preventable statistic, a campaign called “Celebrate My Drive” was created to unite teens, parents, school officials and community members around teen driver safety.
In its third year, more than 6 million drivers have pledged for safer driving through the campaign.
Organizers say there’s a new life of freedom that comes with a driver’s license. Part of that life means making smart choices behind the wheel, which is why the program is spreading the message of “2N2.”
2N2 stands for 2 eyes on the road, 2 hands on the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2,500 teens ages 16 through 19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2011, and nearly 300,000 teens were treated in for injuries suffered in crashes.
The CDC says teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations. Teens are more likely to speed or drink and drive – and are often more distracted by the use of cell phones and other devices.
Three area high schools – Thurston, Churchill and Cottage Grove – have pledged for safer teen driving.
National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 15 through 24.
By pledging, the three schools will compete against thousands of other schools in the nation for several grants up to $100,000.
Celebrate my Drive is sponsored by State Farm Insurance.
Spokesperson Brad Hilliard says the top 5 large and small high schools that have the most pledges will win $100,000 grants. The next 45 ranked schools in each category will win $25,000.
Hilliard says the small high schools are those with under 750 students.
He says last year Cascade High School in Turner, Oregon won a $25,000 grant from the program.
Hilliard says the country music band sponsoring the program, The Band Perry, will play at one large and small high school in an attempt to encourage teens to drive more safely.
To learn more about pledging for safer teen driving and helping your area school receive grants, go to Celebrate My Drive.