Each May, young people from across the country unite during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month to focus on the leading cause of death for them and their peers – traffic-related crashes. Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSM), which is sponsored by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), empowers our youth to develop and lead traffic-safety education projects, support law enforcement, and affect legislation to protect teen drivers.

In honor of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will join experts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Safe Kids Worldwide, Snap to Live and other safety groups on May 1, 2014, in Washington, D.C., in recognition of the global youth traffic safety movement and as part of the U.S. kickoff for the month.

As part of the kickoff event, over 100 teens will participate in the hands-on “Teens and Trucks” initiative hosted by CVSA. Through simulations and demonstrations, teens will learn techniques for safe and cautious driving around large trucks and buses. The “Teens and Trucks” event and demonstrations will be supported by the Maryland State Police and FedEx Corporation.

“CVSA aims to combat the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks and buses, and their interaction with passenger vehicles,” said CVSA Executive Director Stephen Keppler. “Global Youth Traffic Safety Month is a perfect opportunity for us to continue to further our commitment of educating teens about safe driving practices around commercial vehicles. And, we very much appreciate the partnership with the FMCSA and NOYS in this program.”

“Our message to teens everywhere – whether they are driving, walking or bicycling – is to stay focused and stay out of a truck’s blind spots or ‘no zones’,” said Anne Ferro, administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The kickoff event also includes the second annual Long Short Walk, created in memory of 13-year-old Zenani Mandela, Nelson’s Mandela’s great-granddaughter, who was killed as a result of a vehicular crash.

“The observance presents an opportunity to call attention to the fact that vehicular crashes are the #1 killer of our youth worldwide and in the U.S.,” says the GYTSM host Anita Boles, CEO of the National Organizations for Youth Safety. “With youth leaders, experts and advocates, we are calling for improved safety on the nation’s roads.”

There are 9.4 million young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 driving on the highways. They make up only 4.7 percent of the total number of licensed drivers, but are involved in 10.1 percent of fatal accidents and in 13.5 percent of all accidents.

Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage and offers a sense of freedom many teens anxiously await. Compound that newfound freedom with driving with friends, speeding, and aggressive and other distracted driving behaviors and you can see how this rite of passage puts teens at increased risk. CVSA’s goal is to educate teens on minimizing distracting behaviors using the theme: Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, head in the game.

Did you know that:

  • Of the approximately 4,000 deaths annually relating to commercial vehicles, 26 percent involve young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, and about 25 percent involve a driver who is underage and under the influence of alcohol.
  • In 2011, 60 percent of 15 to 20 year-old passengers who died in motor vehicle crashes were NOT wearing a seatbelt.
  • Younger drivers have the highest proportion of distraction-related crashes and, each year, nearly half a million young adults are injured due to distracted driving.

Visit http://www.cvsa.org/osd/teens_trucks to learn more.