Teen drivers age 14-19 account for 5% of all licensed drivers but are behind the wheel in nearly 20% of all crashes in North Dakota. During National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 18-24, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) encourages high schools to join Vision Zero Schools. This program gives students the opportunity to be traffic safety advocates in their community and encourages them to take personal responsibility while driving.
Kidder County became North Dakota’s first Vision Zero School in March. Students became traffic safety advocates by appearing in banners, PSAs, videos and more to share motor vehicle safety messages with their peers and community. Kidder County put their focus on distracted driving.
“It makes a tremendous difference having the message of traffic safety delivered by teens,” said NDDOT Director Bill Panos. “Parents play an important role in reinforcing personal responsibility while driving by talking to their children and by being a reflection of that behavior, but ultimately the positive influence teens have with each other makes the most difference.”
Young driver inexperience, coupled with immaturity, often results in risk-taking behavior such as speeding, alcohol/drug use, driving distracted and not wearing a seat belt – all of which contribute to an increased death rate among teens.
To promote traffic safety, schools receive promotional materials featuring student leaders and are featured on Vision Zero’s website and social media channels. Selected student leaders can also challenge their peers to participate in seat belt counts and driving distraction free challenges to further promote the message of traffic safety.
Schools interested in participating in the Vision Zero School program should contact the NDDOT Safety Public Information Program Manager at email@example.com
Learn more about the Vision Zero strategy and its traffic safety campaigns at VisionZero.ND.gov.