December 20, 2012
NEW GRANT AWARD FUNDS PROGRAMS TO EDUCATE TEENS ABOUT AVOIDING IMPAIRED DRIVING
By Amy Cornell
Santa Clara County, CA. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Traffic Safe Communities Network (TSCN) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to coordinate countywide efforts that will go towards preventing motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities caused by impaired drivers.
The funding will support TSCN’s teen-focused driving under the influence (DUI) prevention activities such as presentations by local experts, education through social media sites such as Facebook, and a video contest for teens. TSCN will also offer a “Responsible Beverage Service” training for owners, managers, and servers of stores that sell alcoholic beverage. This training will help raise awareness about state and local alcohol policies, and provide information about how to successfully comply with the policies.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year olds, and crashes caused by impaired drivers are often deadly. In 2010, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reported 85 collisions in Santa Clara County involving drivers under age 21 who had been drinking. The crashes resulted in 100 injuries and 5 deaths. Many young people are unaware that driving can be impaired by substances other than alcohol, such as marijuana and prescription medications. Drugged driving is also a growing concern.
“This funding will allow us to use creative ways of reaching teenagers to make sure they are aware that the choices they make about driving under the influence can result in serious consequences. The education and awareness they gain from these outreach efforts could help save many lives on our roads, and reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths in our communities,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County Health Officer and TSCN Co-chair.
“Unfortunately, new teen drivers just don’t have the skills and attitudes needed for safe, focused driving,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Programs like this help them adopt the positive behaviors needed to avoid becoming a tragic statistic.”
TSCN is a countywide coalition of health professionals, law enforcement officers, injury prevention specialists, elected officials, engineers, emergency medical responders, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, community organizations, and other traffic safety professionals who work collaboratively to prevent traffic-related collisions, injuries, and fatalities. For more information about TSCN visit www.sccphd.org
or call (408) 793-2700. Information about teen traffic safety can be found at www.facebook.com/TSCNYouth
Funding for this program was provided by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Caltrans.
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