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Directions in Highway Safety, Winter 2009 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Winter 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 1

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State Farm: Committed to Saving Teens' Lives

By: Amy Spong, Public Affairs Specialist, State Farm Auto Safety Unit

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Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. If we maintain the status quo, we will lose more than 100,000 teens to automobile crashes in the next ten years.* State Farm® is taking a stand against this epidemic through research and engagement in communities, schools, families, and public policy initiatives.

Research
Saving the lives of teen drivers requires changing behavior and social norms. In 2009 and 2010 we will begin to develop and implement tools to save lives, prevent crashes, and reduce injuries. The first step in this process was the National Young Driver Survey conducted and released by State Farm and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), who have been research partners for over a decade on auto safety issues and concerns.

Communities and Schools
No initiative of this magnitude could be successful without the involvement of local communities and schools. In 2007, State Farm, CHOP, and National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) advocated for the first National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW), featuring a youth led summit to discuss the causes of this national epidemic and possible solutions. The second annual NTDSW focused on increasing awareness of teen driver and passenger safety in local communities and through school activities, grassroots efforts, and national advertising.

Additionally, Project Ignition is an innovative program reflecting State Farm's commitment to teen driver safety. In collaboration with NYLC (www.nylc.org), Project Ignition provides grants to nonprofit student-led organizations. These organizations often find their inspiration close to home, sometimes through personal tragedy. Their creative and powerful messages reach across town, county, and state lines. For information about how your community or school can get involved, visit www.sfprojectignition.com.

Families
State Farm understands how daunting it can be to teach a teen to drive. We have developed tools for our agents to share with teens and parents to help ease this transition. Steer Clear® invites students to watch an instructional DVD, keep a journal about their behind-the-wheel experience, and open lines of communication with their parents about learning to drive. Upon completion, students are eligible to receive up to a 15 percent discount on their auto insurance.

In addition to Steer Clear®, State Farm agents offer a Parent- Teen Handbook (available in English and Spanish) to facilitate ongoing discussion about safe driving. We also started a Facebook page to enhance dialog among parents and teens. Our 2008 NTDSW spokesperson and father of two teen drivers, Cal Ripken, Jr., shares his personal story in a video.

Public Policy
State Farm is using its resources at a grass roots level across the United States to advance the conversation about Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). We stand behind restrictions on wireless communication devices, passengers, and nighttime driving. Research shows that rigorous GDL laws can reduce teen crashes by up to 40 percent.** We have created a GDL Toolkit to make it easy for legislators to learn the facts, understand our position, and take the steps to make changes to laws that will help save lives.

"Like a good neighbor" is more than a slogan. Good Neighbor service means being there when and where we're needed to do what we've promised. By focusing our efforts on teen driver research and engagement in communities, schools, families and public policy, we can truly make a difference. No insurance company is more committed to saving the lives of teen drivers.

Please contact Amy Spong at State Farm for copies of our GDL Legislative Toolkit at amy.spong.pkmf@statefarm.com or 309-735-0908. For more information, visit: www.statefarm.com/teendriving.

*Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System Analysis by: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

**National Safety Council