A Jacobs High School student was among 22 participants to take part in a Students Against Destructive Decisions youth advocacy institute last month in Washington, D.C.
Tucker Lehman of Algonquin traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in SADD SPEAKs (Students for Policy, Education, Advocacy and Knowledge), which is sponsored by Ally Financial, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.’s Teens Drive Smart, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and The National Road Safety Foundation, according to a SADD SPEAKs press release.
Car crashes are the number one killer of teens and teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes at three times the rate of older drivers. According to the CDC, in 2010, seven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
Over the past two months, Lehman and 21 other youth leaders received online training in transportation policy, basic advocacy skills and the legislative process, particularly as it affects teen traffic safety in preparation for their unique four-day trip to Washington on July 22 to 25.
While in D.C., these SADD ambassadors met with representatives of national organizations dedicated to youth traffic safety, Congressional staff focused on transportation policy and staff from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other federal agencies responsible for federal policy related to teen traffic safety.
The students planned and participated in the briefing on Capitol Hill for elected leaders, congressional staff and other interested parties, according to the news release.
“Teens working together on policy development demonstrates the value of incorporating a youth perspective on these issues and empowers us to influence both our peers and the government officials responsible for traffic safety policy," said Tucker Lehman in the news release.
Lehman and other teen advocates now plan to put their new skills into practice by working to influence state and federal policy at the local level. They will also lead SADD’s efforts to mobilize students across the country to become effective advocates for teen traffic safety programs, according to the news release.
Congress passed a highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21, last summer that, for the first time, includes “teen traffic safety” as a specific focus of highway safety dollars provided to each state. A Capitol Hill briefing provided an overview of key issues related to teen traffic safety and highlighted federal and state efforts to reduce highway fatalities among younger drivers.
SADD is committed to empowering young people to lead prevention education initiatives in their schools and communities. Founded in 1981, today SADD has thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country. SADD highlights prevention of many destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people, including underage drinking, substance abuse, risky and impaired driving, and teen violence and suicide. More information about SADD can be found at sadd.org, or follow SADD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Source: SADD SPEAKs news release.