LONG VALLEY – Do you know an individual or an organization that has worked tirelessly to promote the proven principles of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License program? If you do, now’s the time to nominate them for a 2012 GDL Champion award.
Developed by the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition (sponsored by The Allstate Foundation in partnership with the National Safety Council), the annual award program recognizes those who have advocated for New Jersey’s three-step, novice driver licensing system. Designed to ensure teens survive their most dangerous driving years, the GDL helps them gain experience and build the skills necessary to become good drivers for life.
According to coalition leader Pam Fischer, the number one cause of death for teens is car crashes. In New Jersey in 2011, 29 teens drivers and 17 teens passengers (driven by their peers) lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes.
“Mile for mile teens between the ages of 16 and 20 are involved in three times as many fatal car crashes as all other drivers,” Fischer explained. “Distracted driving caused by multiple passengers, cell phone use and texting, as well as not buckling up, speeding, and driving at night all create potentially deadly situations for teen drivers. Graduated driver licensing is a proven tool in reducing teen crash risk; since New Jersey’s GDL program took effective in 2001, teen driving deaths have fallen by more than 50 percent.”
Fischer noted that the awards program provides a unique opportunity for those who have educated, enforced and/or advocated for GDL to be recognized for their efforts to help save lives. Last year, more than a dozen individuals and organizations, including members of the New Jersey Legislature, were inducted into the GDL Champions Class of 2011. The award recipients can be viewed at www.njteendriving.com/gdl-champions2011.
GDL Champions are teachers, parents, teens, business men and women, driving school instructors, safety advocates, reporters, elected officials, and police officers,” Fischer added. “Anyone who has contributed his or her time, talent and energy to help enact, implement and/or promote NJ’s GDL program is eligible for nomination.”
Application forms are available online at www.njteendriving.com/gdl-champions-2012 and must be submitted by March 31. The winners will be announced on May 1 to help kick-off National Youth Traffic Safety Month. They’ll also be recognized on May 11 at the 2012 UGot Brains Champion Schools Showcase, the first of 2-days of events for parents and teens — dubbed iDrive Safe — that will be held at iPlay America in Freehold, Monmouth County. On day two (May 12), the Coalition will host its second annual, statewide, peer-led Teen Safe Driving Summit, GDL4U: Good Driving for Life for teens 14-16 years of age and their parents.
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