Traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in America for 15- to 20-year-olds, according to findings recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To counter the trend, NHTSA and the Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving (RADD) Coalition are promoting a new educational campaign emphasizing the importance of safe teen driving.
Celebrities involved in the campaign include artists/celebrities Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Jamie Lee Curtis, Melissa Etheridge, No Doubt, Shaquille O'Neal and R.E.M. More than 500 celebrities have served as RADD spokespersons, saying to their fans: Your lifestyle is your business. Don't take it on the road.
During 2003, 3,657 teen drivers were killed in motor vehicle crashes; an additional 308,000 were injured, according to NHTSA. Nationally, nearly 31 percent of teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2003 had been drinking, and 74 percent of this group was not wearing safety belts. The new campaign seeks to foster dialogue between parents and teens, and teens and their peers, on the importance of seat belts and the dangers of impaired driving and underage drinking.
In Idaho, teenagers drivers are involved in approximately 25 percent of all car crashes, even though they represent a much smaller segment (7 percent) of the state's driving population. Seventy-two percent of drivers age 15-19 who died in crashes from 2001 to 2003 were not wearing seat belts. Seat belt use in Idaho is lowest among males 18-24 years old.
For more information on the RADD campaign, visit http://www.radd.org/index.php
Photo: Recording artist Justin Timberlake appears in
a print ad for RADD. Timberlake joined RADD in 2002 after a fan was
killed by a drunk driver outside a California radio station.