According to a recent announcement by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) and Project Ignition, a South Carolina school is one of the 10 places best at helping change the way teens drive.
Project Ignition, a teen driving safety effort sponsored by State Farm Insurance and coordinated with the NYLC, asked schools across the U.S. and Canada to share their attempts to help teens build safer driving habits and have teens get involved in spreading awareness about safe driving. The program recently announced a list of 25 schools in the U.S. and Canada, which earned $2,000 grants from Project Ignition because of their successful drivers’ safety efforts. Among those top 25 schools was Blythewood High School, located in Blythewood, SC. However, Blythewood High’s teen driving safety successes didn’t stop there.
After that initial list, Project Ignition then selected ten schools for additional awards that could add up to around $7,500. And Blythewood High topped that final list of ten schools. According to Project Ignition, the title of Blythewood’s campaign was, “Keep your eye on the prize–Life.” The school’s efforts included machines simulating intoxicated driving and texting, golf cart texting and distracted driving exercises, seatbelt checks and prom-related crash safety efforts.
The good news for Blythewood comes just on the heels of more data from researchers and the federal government that shows ever-increasing levels of text messaging and distraction for U.S. drivers–especially when it’s a teen who’s behind the wheel. The Project Ignition award also comes with an announcement from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), praising South Carolina, among some other states, for its efforts at graduated licensing programs. Graduated licensing is a nationwide teen driving safety effort, which has many forms across each state, and helps to limit the ages or conditions under which teens can drive without special restrictions or requirements. According to the IIHS, these programs have helped reduce deaths among 16-year-old drivers by 68 percent between 1996 and 2010.
Unfortunately, as we’ve mentioned before, teens are still among the most vulnerable of all drivers–still more likely to overestimate their skills and underestimate the amount of danger that simple choices, like texting or driving distracted, may hold. Let’s hope that other schools can follow Blythewood High’s example for safety and change.