Over the years, it's been my great privilege to work with countless partners in DOT's campaign to end America's distracted driving epidemic. As I've traveled the country spreading the word about the dangers of texting and cell phone use behind the wheel, I've been joined by parents, students, educators, employers, legislators, and so many others who are committed to keeping roads safe in their communities.
But one of the organizations that has been with us from the start is NOYS--the National Organizations for Youth Safety. NOYS, a national youth health and safety coalition, is committed to promoting youth empowerment and building partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and promote healthy lifestyles. And for the last several years, NOYS and its youth leaders have been leading the charge to help teens get the message that cell phones and driving don't mix.
This weekend, young people from across the country are traveling to Washington, DC, to participate in NOYS's third annual Teen Distracted Driving Summit. More than 100 teens are expected to attend the three day event, which will include presentations, interactive activities, and training sessions on how to combat distracted driving.
But these youth safety leaders aren't just here to listen--they're here to take action.
According to NOYS Executive Director Sandy Spavone, this peer-to-peer messaging is key to reaching teens. "The foundation of our work at NOYS is that youth prevention efforts should be done with youth--not to youth."
And the stakes couldn't be higher when it comes to distracted driving. NHTSA research shows that drivers under 25 are two to three times more likely to send or read a text message from behind the wheel, while young passengers are also the least likely to speak up if their driver is texting or talking on a cell phone.
That's why events like the Teen Distracted Driving Summit and activities like DOT's recent Distracted Driving Design Challenge are so important. They empower young people with the information and tools they need to take a stand and speak up about the issues that matter to them most.
I wish all of the young ambassadors here in Washington this weekend luck as they work together and share ideas about how to keep our shared roadways safe, and my thanks go out to everyone at NOYS for their dedication and commitment to the fight to end distracted driving.
Register here for details on how you can watch a live stream of the NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Summit.