National Road Trip Highlights Dangers for Teen Drivers

SADD, State Farm®, THSO Team Up to Raise Awareness on Seat Belt Safety

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), State Farm, and the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) are celebrating National Teen Driver Safety Week with a national call to action - a Rock the Belt Road Trip, bringing together State Farm Agents and student leaders from across the country. Today, the Road Trip stopped at the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security, where State Farm Agents and THSO staff served as subject matter experts, sharing tips for teens and parents on roadway safety. 

According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over half of teens (ages 15-19) killed in crashes weren't wearing a seat belt. The same is true with a young audience, where 90% of passengers (ages 13-19) weren't restrained. 

Today's panel featured State Farm Agents Barbara Stewart and Shank Kothare, who spoke of the unique dangers that teen drivers face. The agents drove home the important message that parents and teens each play a role in setting operating expectations regarding seat belt usage and other behaviors like child passenger safety. The panel also included Beth Vernon, program manager for THSO, and Julie Brewer, the TN Child Passenger Safety State Coordinator. Thousands of chapters from across the country watched the live-stream event, now archived on SADD's social media channels.

In addition to the panel, SADD members and local law enforcement across the state and nation are participating in the "Quick Click Challenge." Agents, students, and law enforcement formed groups of four to race through the process of jumping in a car, buckling the seat belt, and then repeating the activity while rotating through all four positions in the vehicle. Agents across the country will use the "Agents of Change" Roadway Safety Presentation, developed by SADD students, to raise awareness of a leading cause of teen crashes. In partnership with SADD and the National Road Safety Foundation, State Farm is also making the Passport for Safe Driving available across the country for new drivers and their parents. 

"We hope our road trip and this important stop in Tennessee help to create a culture of safety. At State Farm, we want to protect what matters most, and protecting our teen drivers is a key strategy. Together, we can reach zero roadway fatalities," said Mac Kane, a local State Farm Agent and roadway safety advocate.

"Today's activities were a fun reminder of the importance of seat belt safety. State Farm, SADD, and THSO know that seat belts save lives, and we hope this road trip reminds every driver to make it a habit to buckle up," said Haley Sandstrom, a member of the SADD National Student Leadership Council and Seymour, Tennessee, native.

About SADD
For more than 40 years, SADD, the nation's premier youth health safety organization, has worked to empower students, engage parents, mobilize communities, and change lives around the issues of traffic safety, substance abuse, and personal health and safety. SADD equips students with the resources they need to advocate for change in their communities through a national network of peer-led chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Join the movement by visiting and following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.


Media Contact:
Heather DeSantis - 828.332.5307
Arriale Tabson - 615.767.3242

Source: Students Against Destructive Decisions