|Friday, October 15, 2004||CONTACT:
Ellen Martin, NHTSA, (202) 366-9550
Judy Diethelm, BLU MOON Group/Radd, (310) 245-1166, or
Leslie Berliant, (310) 403-1221
October 15, 2004 (Los Angeles, CA / Washington D.C.) To combat a rash of high profile teen crashes nationwide, the Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving (RADD) Coalition and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both members of the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), are promoting a new educational campaign aimed at fostering a dialogue between parents and teens and teens and their peers on the importance of buckling up, not driving impaired and curbing underage drinking.
NHTSA released today national data showing traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds. In 2003, 3,657 (3,827 in 2002) drivers 15 to 20 years old were killed, and an additional 308,000 (324,000 in 2002) were injured, in motor vehicle crashes. Nearly 31 percent of teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2003 had been drinking and 74 percent of this group was not wearing their safety belts. (State data)
Self-reporting by sixth graders indicates that 16 percent say they drink. That number reaches 82 percent by the time they graduate from high school and by the time teens are in the 10th grade - typically the year they begin to drive - 71 percent of them say they drink. (Teens Today™ research conducted by SADD and Liberty Mutual, 2002)
"Although crash statistics are at record low levels, we must work everyday to remind everyone about the deadly mix of inexperienced teen drivers and alcohol," says NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey Runge, M.D. "We know parents hold the keys to prevention and the first step is simply talking to your teen about buckling up, slowing down, and never driving impaired."
The Coalition’s initial outreach includes the RADD HBO Family Educational Community Kit featuring a discussion guide and copy of the full length HBO Family documentary Smashed: Toxic Tales of Teens and Alcohol, teen audience PSAs featuring RADD celebrity messenger, Chris Pratt and online access to information and solutions for parents, teens, young adults, educators and communities. All materials and statistics can be found at www.radd.org.
"It comes down to one bad decision leading to senseless loss of life," says actor Chris Pratt of The WB’s ‘Everwood’, featured in the RADD Teen PSA program. "I know first hand the repercussions for families and friends, so I am glad to use my ability to reach young people to talk about the issues of underage drinking and safe driving."
"We see the tragic results of alcohol and unbuckled drivers and passengers in our emergency rooms every day," says NHTSA Medical Fellow, Dr. Todd Thoma. "The teens and parents in ‘Smashed’ represent the horrible aftermath for youth, families and entire communities." Thoma is a featured speaker in the live panel discussion featurette, included in the RADD HBO Family Educational Community Kit.
"RADD formed the public/private coalition to respond to an urgent situation," says Erin Meluso, RADD President. "We have listened to teens and parents and are responding. HBO Family’s hard-hitting documentary Smashed: Toxic Tales of Teens and Alcohol, is a terrific tool to kick-start this urgent dialogue. Our goal is to further educational outreach and seek solutions for three life-threatening teen issues: under age drinking, excessive speed and under usage of seatbelts."
Coalition partners include; founding chair SAMHSA; the Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety, www.radd.org; with HBO Family, www.hbo.com; National Organizations For Youth Safety (NOYS), www.noys.org; Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), www.sadd.org; Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), www.fcclainc.org; Bacchus and Gamma Peer Education Network, www.bacchusgamma.org; and Federal RADD Coalition partners: US Department of Transportation (lead), www.nhtsa.dot.gov; SAMHSA, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services; US Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools; and US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs/OJJDP. Underwriting has been generously provided by HBO Family, www.hbo.com; Inspired Corporation, www.inspiredcorp.com; Sonopress, www.sonopress.com; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) www.nhtsa.dot.gov , and Davis-Glick, www.davisglick.com with additional sponsor support generously provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, www.libertymutual.com; National Organizations For Youth Safety (NOYS), www.noy.org; and SafeCar Services, www.safecarservices.com .
For further information please visit www.radd.org or contact:
Judy Diethelm, RADD / BLU MOON Group-310-245-1166, email@example.com
Leslie Berliant, RADD / BLU MOON Group-310-403-1221, firstname.lastname@example.org
Louie del Rio, NHTSA Strategic Communications, 202-366-9825, Luis.Delrio@nhtsa.dot.gov
Holly Ollis, WB/Everwood/Chris Pratt, 818-954-7741, Holly.Ollis@warnerbros.com
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