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Federal Legislation Promotes Teen Driving Safety
A new incentive grant program that will encourage states to adopt or strengthen their Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws was signed by President Obama on July 6. GDL laws set minimum driver training/educational requirements and introduce the novice driver to the driving experience in a gradual manner by limiting exposure to specific hazardous driving situations. !MPACT, along with many others in the safety community, worked hard for this legislation, which sets the stage for standardizing GDL programs throughout the United States. Known as MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), the new legislation requires states to satisfy specific performance goals, including improving state laws as necessary, to qualify for additional federal funding.  MAP-21 addresses a number of other highway safety issues as well. Among them, MAP-21 provides incentives to states to address distracted driving, speeding, occupant protection, impaired driving, and motorcycle safety. 

!MPACT co-founder and president Sherry Chapman praised the legislation.

"The number one killer of teenagers in the United States is motor vehicle crashes. Many of these deaths are preventable. Studies have proven that good GDL programs dramatically reduce teen driving fatalities. The patchwork quilt of teen driving laws throughout the nation simply makes no sense. This legislation will serve to set a federal minimum standard so that novice drivers will have laws to protect them no matter what state they live in. Everyone wins with this legislation." 

More Teens Use Seat Belts in States with Tougher Laws 
A new study shows that novice drivers living in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws are more likely to buckle up than those living in states with secondary laws. Primary laws allow a vehicle stop whenever an officer observes an unbelted driver or passenger. Secondary seat belt laws require a primary violation, such as speeding, in order to stop the vehicle. Only then can an officer write a citation for non-use of seat belts. The study, "Safety Belt Laws and Disparities in Safety Belt Use Among US High-School Drivers," is published in the American Journal of Public Health and was conducted by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance. To read more, visit:  

!MPACT Joins Traffic Safety Coalition 
!MPACT has joined the Traffic Safety Coalition to help combat intersection safety hazards. Red light running and intersection crashes are serious traffic safety problems. There were a staggering 6,758 fatalities involving intersection crashes in the United States in 2010.*  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, red light running alone kills approximately 700 people each year, injuring an additional 130,000. Visit the Traffic Safety Coalition website for more information. 

*NHTSA National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, rev. Feb. 2012.

Connecticut Sees Reduction in Teen Crashes 
August 1st marked the fourth anniversary of Connecticut's adoption of its expansive GDL program, and available statistics show it's working.  Connecticut's GDL program requires extended training and a mandated teen-parent educational session paired with passenger restrictions, an 11 p.m. curfew, and stiffer penalties for violations.  Since the laws took effect in 2008, there has been a steady decline in fatalities of 16- and 17-year-old drivers. 

Schedule !MPACT's Safe Teen Driving Program Early in the School Year
If you plan to have !MPACT present its Safe Teen Driving Program at your school or organization, be sure to contact !MPACT early in the school year to assure the most flexibility in scheduling. !MPACT's Safe Teen Driving Program is a 90 minute presentation offered to high schools at no charge. For more information, visit the Mourning Parents Act, Inc. website.

Raising Awareness -- Look for !MPACT Billboards on Connecticut Highways

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