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This guest post originally appeared on the National Transportation Safety Board’s Safety Compass.

By Stephanie Shaw
Safety Advocate, Office of Communications
National Transportation Safety Board

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month bannerMay is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, a time where communities come together to bring more awareness to safety issues impacting teens on the road. GYTSM, which began as National Youth Traffic Safety Month, was expanded to support the United Nations’ 2007 Global Road Safety Week, because teen driving crashes are a worldwide safety problem, requiring global solutions.

Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in the United States for 15- to 20-year olds. Nearly 1,700 young drivers died and 177,000 more were injured in motor vehicles crashes in 2013.

And, if that data weren’t dramatic enough, consider this: while drivers age 16–24 make up only 6 percent of the total number of licensed drivers, they are involved in 9 percent of all fatal crashes and 13 percent of all crashes.

Clearly, all of us – government, youth organizations, communities, parents, and individual citizens – must work harder to protect our youth. And GYTSM is the perfect time to refocus our efforts!

Doing our part, the NTSB will join the National Organizations for Youth SafetyStudents Against Destructive Decisions; the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; and students at Freedom High School in Virginia to bring the message of teen safe driving to their school and community. We will share best practices and lessons learned from the crashes we have seen. We will be using a live satellite feed and a Twitter chat to interact with students across the country to learn how they are promoting safe driving behaviors. The event will also feature special guest speaker Fletcher Cleaves, who was paralyzed in a distracted driving accident.

If you have a teen driver in your family, are close to teen drivers in your community, or simply want to know how to help prevent teen driver crashes, we encourage you to join us May 2 at 1:00 p.m. EST via Twitter @NTSB or follow the conversation by searching the hashtags #1goodchoice and #TrafficSafeYouth.

Young drivers are facing a public health crisis – death and injury in motor vehicle crashes. Parents and communities must work together to educate young drivers about good driving habits and increase their awareness about the dangers on the roadways.

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