Stop distracted driving by teens
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and The Allstate Foundation are partnering again for the seventh year to help curb distracted driving by teenagers, including talking on cell phones and texting while driving. Children’s distracted driving program, FOCUS – Safe Teen Driving, targets teen drivers, parents of adolescents and primary care physicians, with the goal of educating teens about the dangers of driving while distracted.
The Allstate Foundation has awarded Children’s $35,000 for the program, which will help fund items including the "FOCUS – Action Against Distraction" Driver Simulation Project, a cutting-edge simulator that uses high-definition video scenes and gaming technology to deter destructive driving behaviors among teens and young adults. The program runs throughout the school year and is taught by the injury prevention team at Children’s Hospital.
The Allstate Foundation also funds a grant competition to provide schools with funds to continue their own safe teen driver programs; a safe teen driver summit for more than 200 students from different schools to come together to work on teen driver issues; and sponsorships of the Allegheny County Teen Driver competitions.
“We are dedicated to educating and steering young drivers toward more responsible behaviors on the road and reducing motor vehicle accident injuries and, most importantly, deaths,” said Barbara Gaines, M.D., director, Trauma and Injury Prevention at Children’s Hospital.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, seven teens ages 16 to 19 die from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in fatal crashes.
“We are hopeful that graduated driver’s license laws and programs like FOCUS at Children’s Hospital are making a positive and significant impact on the lives of teen drivers,” added Dr. Gaines.
Over seven years, Allstate has donated $245,000 in support of the FOCUS program at Children’s. Schools interested in partnering in this program should contact Chris Vitale at 412-692-8229. For more information about teen driver safety and simulator program at Children’s Hospital, please visit www.chp.edu/CHP/street+and+off-road+for+parents.