Anyone who is or has been the parent of teenagers knows the eye roll. Often called “dissing” in the vernacular, eye rolling is the frequent response from teenagers when parents remind them to buckle up, slow down, get some sleep, and pay attention in school.
The medical community is powerless to cure the eye roll, but EMS can make inroads into the teenage psyche by reminding these soon-to-be adults that safety is paramount if they want to reach their 20s.
With prom and graduation some of the high points of spring, June is the perfect month to focus on injury and illness prevention among teens.
Plan and put on a Prom Night mock crash event at the high school
Make a presentation in the schools about the dangers of distracted driving, with special emphasis on texting and talking on cell phones while behind the wheel
Write your legislature in favor of graduated driving laws
Host a driver safety road course to teach teens best practice driving methods; learn how at www.drivingskillsforlife.com
Organize a PSA contest for the best media spot on safe driving
(Depending on your service area, you might need to address teen safety in May to coincide with prom and/or graduation in your community.)
Naturally, public and private high schools are your best bet to reach new drivers, but there are other community partners that might be interested in safe driving programs. Consider working with local civic groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapters, cell phone dealers and automobile dealers. Radio stations also should be on your prospect list, as should be movie theaters, video game stores, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls and other businesses frequented by teens.
It’s a Fact: Teenage Drivers Are Vulnerable
More than 5,000 teens die on America’s roads annually.
Speeding, drinking, talking on a cell phone, riding with peers and driving at night raise the risk of teen crashes.
In 2007, the average age of first alcohol use was 16.8 years.
Just one teen passenger doubles the risk a teen driver will get into a fatal crash; three or more passengers quadruples the risk.
Fatal crash risk hits a lifetime high in the first six months of independent driving.
For more, visit: www.drivingskillsforlife.com
How to Host a Safe Driving PSA Contest
The best messengers to deliver a safety message to teens may be teens themselves. Especially today when so many teenagers are skilled at audio and video recording and editing, holding a contest for the best safe driving Public Service Announcement can engage local students, interest local media and, at the same time, create a fabulous marketing piece that you can use year-round. Here are some tips on how to host a safe driving PSA contest:
Recruit a contest host, such as a school or school district, or a local youth-serving or safety organization.
Recruit student leaders to help organize and encourage student participation in the contest.
Select a panel of student organizers and adults to serve as judges and confirm the dates you¡¦ll need their help.
Approach local businesses for contest donations. Ask local media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines) to donate airtime or space for the winning entries; media outlets also may donate equipment and/or studio time so students can record their PSAs. Other businesses may donate prizes, such as a video camera, an iPod or a gift certificate for art supplies.
Find ways for the school to use the winning PSAs throughout the year, such as during announcements, in hallways/classrooms, or in local places teens hang out in the community.
Consider specific times to promote the winning PSAs, such as homecoming, holidays, prom, etc.
Finalize your contest rules including deadline of submission, where students will submit their PSAs, how they will be scored, and what the winners will receive.
Go to www. ridelikeafriend.com to download materials in support of the contest, such as sample PSAs, sample solicitation letters and contest fact sheets.
Distribute a PSA promotional flyer in schools to encourage participation.
If the contest will be held schoolwide, have the student organizer announce the PSA contest during the morning announcements.
Provide clear direction to participants on the deadline, how to submit their entries, and judging criteria.
Once the deadline is passed, assemble your judging panel to view the entries.
Announce PSA winners in each category and award prizes to winners.
Showcase the winning entries throughout the year.
Arrange for the PSAs to be aired or published.
Thank your sponsors, contest hosts and judges.
Reach Out to Local Businesses
Ideas from Ford Driving Skills for Life
Grocery stores – Have the store insert safe driving fliers in grocery bags/carts
Florists – During prom season, put safe driving promotion stickers on corsage boxes
Tuxedo rental companies – During prom season or any occasion, ask the tuxedo company put safe driving materials in tuxedo pockets or as a handout at point of sale
Bowling alleys – Hang safe driving posters in the bowling alley or use as handouts at the counter
Fast food restaurants – Provide tray liners in fast food restaurants
Public transportation – Encourage safe driving messages on the outside of buses or at subway stops
Hair salons/barbers – Have small handouts available so customers can pick tham up when they make payment
High school booster clubs – Place safety messaging posters in high schools or at sports games
Auto repair shops – Place safe driving brochures/handouts in service centers
For more, visit: www.drivingskillsforlife.com.