Success In Ohio

Impact Teen Drivers supports every generation in making the conscious commitment to safe driving, and disseminating the message throughout communities so that the culture of driving may evolve to one that is distraction-free. Last week’s Ohio Youth Traffic Safety Conference embodied this ideal, with peer-to-peer messaging as the event’s focus.

With sponsorship by the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), State Farm, Impact Teen Drivers, and with additional support from, hundreds of youth leaders from across Ohio assembled in Columbus to champion safe driving. Rather than mournfully accepting crashes as an inevitable killer of tends, the Ohio Youth Traffic Safety Conference participants focused on finding solutions to the epidemic.  

The Ohio Youth Traffic Safety Conference provided a forum for teen leaders to fine-tune their traffic safety messaging to most effectively reach their communities. They received advocacy training and gained access to evidence-based resources. Almost 30 different schools were represented at this culture-changing event, and now over 200 teen and adult leaders will be going back to their communities to implement action plans based on the "What Do You Consider Lethal?" program and other Impact Teen Drivers resources, materials, and curricula.

 The Conference included a lively opening session led by motivational speaker, Harriet Turk, and a riveting general session hosted by the incredibly inspirational, Martha Tessmer. It also offered 9 workshops that all focused on perfecting peer-to-peer messaging to ultimately change the driving culture. The conference concluded with a dynamic action planning session, facilitated by Rick Birt.

One participant tweeted: “Had an amazing time this weekend, learned so much and ready to take it to our town to teach others! @whatslethal.”

Another expressed a similar enthusiasm for ongoing advocacy: “This weekend was a great experience! Can't wait for what's in store for our school and community! @whatslethal”

The event received many other tremendously positive responses, including:

“The #OYTSC was a huge success! Great people, activities, and information. Loved it. Would love to do it again! @whatslethal”

“@whatslethal seriously have learned so much this weekend I'm glad I came!!! :D :D” 



CHS to host teen driving safety event Thursday

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CIRCLEVILLE — A national speaker from Impact Teen Drivers will present a parent/teen workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Circleville High School auditorium designed to educate the community on teen driving safety.

The event will highlight what parents of teen drivers need to know about graduated licensing laws in Ohio, as well as what teens and parents need to know about Ohio texting and driving laws. 

The highlight of the event will be a presentation by Martha Tessmer, whose son Donovan was a high school football star that was being recruited by many colleges, including major institutions here in Ohio.

Donovan’s dreams were cut short in 2007 when he and his girlfriend, along with three other friends, were involved in a crash that caused his death. Tessmer is a supporter of Impact Teen Drivers and is promoting safety to all teens in the hope that their families will not endure the pain of the loss of someone they love.

The state of Ohio passed new laws on texting and driving more than a year ago that prohibits teens from using any type of electronic device while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one reason for deaths in teens and young adults, and distracted driving is a major contributor to these types of crashes.

“We in Pickaway County have been so fortunate to have had many opportunities to host events such as this, and to give parents and teens the chance to learn more about what they can do to improve their safety while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, as well as protecting the lives of those passengers who ride with them,” said Teresa C. Carper, director for Safe Communities of Pickaway County. “The event is free, and we hope that parents and students will take this opportunity to learn more about the responsibility of being a driver of a motor vehicle.”

The event is sponsored by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office and Circleville High School. Funding for this project is made available through grants by the US Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Door prizes and give-aways also will be part of the event.

“We hope that parents and teens will join us for this very important event,” said Sheriff Robert B. Radcliff. “One of the worst things a law enforcement officer must do in his/her career is to inform a parent of the loss of their child in a motor vehicle crash. We are committed to do all we can to prevent these types of tragedies in our community.”

All members of the community are welcome to attend. 

Circleville Herald
120 Watt St.
Circleville, OH 43113

Get Down with the Law

They say “practice makes perfect,” but when it comes to driving, you practice in the pursuit of survival rather than perfection. Graduating Driver Licensing is designed to help save your life, because it effectively structures your driving practice.

The idea behind GDL is the same idea behind swimming—you wouldn’t throw a baby into the English Channel and shout, “SWIM!” Anyone trying to teach a child to swim would probably start out in a pool, and hold the toddler in their arms to supervise the first splashing session. Then, after a few years maybe allow them to frolic in the shallow-end, eventually take swimming lessons, etc. Finally, gold medals are in sight, and it wasn’t the icy cold immersion in English Channel either—it was the practice that escalated gradually in intensity. That word, “gradual” is key.

Just like life jackets were not designed to “take the fun out of swimming,” GDL was not created to “take the fun out of driving.” States created these programs in order to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities of teen drivers. GDL has been shown to reduce crash rates by up to 50% (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Why are there nighttime restrictions?

  • Night driving is more dangerous than day driving due to limited visibility, increased risk of drowsiness, and higher rate of impaired drivers on the roads.
  • Teenage crash deaths in 2012 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Restrictions allow teens to gain experience driving during the day before allowing them to drive in the more dangerous situation of night.

Why are there passenger restrictions?

  • Each teen passenger increases the risk of a teen driver crash—with three or more passengers quadrupling the risk. (National Safety Council)
  • In 2012, 54 percent of deaths among teenage passengers occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Restrictions protect teens from distractions like friends and peers and protect the friends and peers from a driver who is at the highest crash risk.

Follow the law! Live it! Love it!


Cell phone laws and Graduated Driver Licensing provisions for each state: 

Impact Teen Drivers has “GDL Made Simple” videos for some states that provide an entertaining quick look at state-specific GDL laws. Check if your state is listed.

Your Music: Your Mark.

What sets your favorite song apart from all the other songs? Haunting melody maybe. A voice that is somehow appealing. Maybe no vocals—just a pleasing fusion of auditory vibrations…but your favorite is more than just pleasing, right? Songs with alluring intros and catchy hooks are great, but few frothy pop songs really stand the test of time. What makes a song transcend generational barriers and become an anthem for the ages?

Its message.

It makes you feel something with its message. A powerful message is what divides a ditty from a masterpiece, and what could be a more powerful subject to take on than the number one killer of teens in America? Reckless and distracted driving kills roughly 4,000 teens every year, leaving another 400,000+ seriously injured. Make your mark on the world with a solution-driven piece of music that defies this trend.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a complicated piano piece to make an impact. You don’t have to be a guitar prodigy or play the Didgeridoo to spread a powerful message through your music. There is no age minimum or limit on musical talent, no gender or color or socioeconomic background. Talent is born because it chooses to be born, out of passion and dedication that we believe you have.

Harmony, rhythm, and tempo may all be important components, but don’t let technique intimidate you; the emotional tenor of your message is the most important mechanism for change. Start cultivating your passion today and save lives with your song.

Create Music; Create Real Impact

Enter your life-saving music, check out the other categories, or read the rules at

Create Real Impact.

Every day you see advertisements for an infinite array of products that promise life-changing results—anti-aging soda made from the leaves of a magical forest, electronics that induce spontaneous flash mobs, a diet breakfast sandwich that transforms you into a supermodel, whatever. You may scoff at most and chuckle at a few, and some may not even register on your radar. And how many of them do you think will ever save a life? How many may save your life or your best friend’s life? A sibling’s, a classmate’s, a teammate’s? 

Reckless and distracted driving is the number one killer of teens in America, and it is something 100% preventable—so the only message that needs selling is the very real and attainable: “let’s fix it.” That’s where you come into play. As a teenager, you’re perfectly poised to spread this vital message to your peers and start saving lives today. No gimmicks. You don’t need the focus groups or the billion-dollar budget, because you already possess the insider intel and the creative power is oozing from your fingertips.

Just enter the Create Real Impact Contest to tell the world your best idea of how to solve the problem of reckless and distracted driving. Enter to win educational grants of $500 and $1500—money that can be spent on tuition or school supplies like laptops. 

  • Video: Two minutes or less Public Service Announcement uploaded to YouTube. 
  • Music: Two minutes or less original piece of music, any style, uploaded to YouTube. 
  • Creative writing: 1200 words or less uploaded directly to 
  • Visual Art: Original work in any medium uploaded directly or as a picture to 

 You are the future whether you like it or not, but you choose the footprint you make. Go to for all the details. 

National Safety Council announces 2013 Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award winners

via PR Newswire

ITASCA, Ill., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Safety Council today announced Beth Schuerman of the Alaska Injury Prevention Center, Impact Teen Drivers and Traffic Safe Communities Network of Santa Clara County as the winners of its 5th annual Teen Driving Safety Leadership Awards, supported by the General Motors Foundation

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. The Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award recognizes exceptional contributions that prevent car crashes, injuries and deaths involving teen drivers. This year's winners stood out from more than 50 nominations for the reach of their initiatives and measurements shown on the initiatives' impact on teen driver safety.

"These organizations have worked tirelessly to help protect our youngest and most vulnerable drivers," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of NSC. "Their efforts have yielded measurable change which will no doubt help in our ongoing efforts to curb teen driver crashes and save lives."

The Alaska Injury Prevention Center, used two programs, Teen Buckle Up and Raise Your Voice, to reduce the numbers of car crashes involving teens who were either impaired or not wearing seat belts. Teen seatbelt use in Anchorage increased 26 percent since the Teen Buckle Up program began in 2006.  

Sacramento-based Impact Teen Drivers is a nonprofit organization that, alongside numerous partners, delivers more than 250 presentations about the dangers of reckless and distracted driving to more than 300,000 high school, middle school and elementary school students. An evaluation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that Impact's What Do You Consider Lethal?program increased the rate of seat belt use among teen drivers to greater than 96 percent.

Traffic Safe Communities Network is a community collaborative comprised of more than 70 traffic safety stakeholders and guided by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. TSCN strives to prevent and control traffic-related fatalities and injuries as well as save healthcare and property costs through research-based best practice approaches. Santa Clara County ranks consistently in the top 15 percent of counties with the fewest injuries and fatalities involving drivers younger than 21 who have been drinking.

"Recognizing significant accomplishments in the area of teen driver safety is critical," said Mike Robinson, vice president, Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs, who serves as a GM Foundation Board Member. "These organizations have gone above and beyond to help young drivers and they deserve recognition from the National Safety Council for their work on this issue, which is so important to us all."

More detail on each of this year's honorees can be found at Representatives from all three organizations will receive their awards at the annual NSC Defensive Driving Courses Awards Banquet, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28 during the annual NSC Congress & Expo in Chicago.

About the National Safety Council 
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council,, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities. Safety+Health magazine, the Council's flagship publication, is a leading source of occupational safety and health information.

Northridge Teens Get Up Close With the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Northridge Academy High School on Monday was the focal point for kicking off a weeklong campaign against distracted driving among teenagers, CBS2 reports.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy teamed up with Impact Teen Drivers, the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department to help young drivers get more responsible behind the wheel.

“Crashes are the number one killer of teens and 90 percent of crashes are due to human error,” Carolyn Duchene of Mercedes told CBS2.

One after another, students got behind the wheel and tried to navigate a course while being pestered by passengers. 

Click here to read the full story and video coverage 

CHP observes teen driver and school bus safety weeks

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Statewide, the California Highway Patrol will participate National School Bus Safety Week and National Teen Driver Safety Week ending on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

School Bus Safety Week, which began today, observes nearly 1 million California students who ride the bus every day, according to a release.

There are more than 25,000 certified school bus drivers in California who go through 40 hours of training by the state Department of Education. They also attain CHP certification and complete physical examinations as well as drug tests. Drivers must possess valid first aid and medical cars and obtain background clearance from the California Department of Justice. In addition, the CHP inspects and certifies each bus annually.

Although there were more than 1,700 collisions involving school buses in 2011, preliminary CHP Statewide Integrated Traffic Records indicate no school bus passengers were killed in those wrecks.

Studies by the California School Employers Association show the most dangerous part of a school bus ride is when the students are getting on and off the bus.

Motorists are encouraged to pay attention to school buses when the warning lights are flashing. In California, flashing yellow lights are a warning to slow down and prepare to stop. Flashing red lights and the extended stop arm require all motorists to slop for children entering and exiting the bus and crossing the street.

Also this week, the CHP will observe teen driver safety, which began on Sunday.

Vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers. The overwhelming majority of teen collisions are caused by inexperienced drivers or distractions behind the wheel, including using cell phones, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio or simply chatting with friends.

The CHP offers multiple programs geared toward teenage driver education including: Every 15 Minutes, which focuses on high school juniors and seniors; Start Smart, which is a driver safety education class targeting future licensed drivers; and Impact Teen Drivers, which is a public awareness and education program for teen drivers and their parents about the dangers of distracted driving.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to preventable teen deaths on the road. It is held annually during the third week of October.

Allison Gatlin, On Twitter @allison_salnews #salinas.

California Highway Patrol, L.A. Police Department, Impact Teen Drivers & Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Join Forces For National Teen Driver Safety Week 2013

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Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Encourages Northridge Academy High School Students to Drive Distraction Free

LOS ANGELESOct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy (MBDA), a California DMV-certified teen driving school, joined forces with Impact Teen Drivers,California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department to support National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 20-26, 2013. The annual event helps promote teen driver safety with a focus on distracted-free driving, seat belt use, reducing teens' access to alcohol and parental involvement.

(Logo: )

Northridge Academy High School hosted events to highlight safe teen driving behaviors, including a press conference and a distracted driving demonstration by Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. The number one cause of death amongst teens ages 15-20 is a car crash, according to the Centers for Disease Control. National averages show that teens are most likely to have a significant crash in their first year of driving, four-times higher than an adult or experienced driver.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy partnered with two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas to help kick-off National Teen Driver Safety Week activities and raise awareness around teen driver safety. Douglas, 17, currently has her driver's permit and is enrolling in the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy driver education and training programs. "I'm taking my driving lessons as seriously as my Olympic training," said Douglas. "I know that it will take a lot of practice behind-the-wheel, especially driving in big cities. I also feel strongly about encouraging my friends and family to not text and drive."

"Teen Driver Safety Week gives us an opportunity to raise awareness and educate both teens and parents about how we can help prevent tragedies behind-the-wheel," said Carolyn Duchene, director of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. "It could be as simple as parents actively participating in their teen's driver education and training with more supervised driving experience and learning how parents can model their own driving behavior."   

"Parents have a significant influence on their teens' driving behaviors," said John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Safety Council. "It is important for parents to drive the way they want their teens to drive, and parents need to stay involved. Parents can use National Teen Driver Safety Week to renew their commitment to coaching their teens and spend a little extra time riding along as their teens practice."

According to a recent report, 18- and 19- year-old driver fatal crash rates are higher inCalifornia and nationally after Graduated Driver License (GDL) programs were enacted. One explanation is that teens are simply waiting until they are 18 years old when the GDL no longer applies to them.

"The statistics are clear that even if teens are waiting until they are 18 or 19 years old to get their license, they still need proper driver training and enough time behind the wheel," saidCalifornia Highway Patrol Officer Leland Tang.

For more information on Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy or any of the activities mentioned above, visit or call 888-MBDA-USA.

About Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy opened in Los Angeles in November 2011 and is the first international teen driving school. Mercedes-Benz is the only automotive manufacturer to operate a state-certified driver education program in the United States.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy features a customized curriculum involving a highly interactive, participatory system of key tactical on-line and classroom components in conjunction with on-road training. The school's highly effective coaching-method and unique offerings, including a closed course distracted driving demonstration, aims to improve better decision-making behind the wheel and develop safer drivers for life. More information on Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy can be found at    

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class sedan and the SLS AMG GT supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and smart in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at and

©2012 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Kelly Browning presents to GHSA

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association 2013 Annual Meeting took place this August in San Diego, CA. Over 600 traffic safety representatives attended this year's meeting, which offered a variety of panels, presentations, and talks around the theme of technology. Impact Teen Driver's Executive Director Dr. Kelly Browning was in attendance, presenting on ITD's unique program and its effectiveness.

“It's always encouraging to see how many people there are committed to traffic safety truly wanting to do the best thing. To be able to come together from all over the country to share ideas and learn what is happening so we can do a better job saving lives is refreshing and inspiring,” said Browning of the event.

In explaining Impact's relationship to technology, Browning commented; “The reality is that technology is here to stay and it's going to continue to evolve. We can make all the best tools and devices, but ultimately it is always going to come down to someone choosing to make the right decisions [about reckless and distracted driving]. It isn't a question of if technology is for us or against us. It's a tool we need to use to change driving culture, specifically to communicate with teens because that's where they're at, that's how they're communicating.”

Impact Teen Drivers has worked hard to gather and develop the best tools and practices in reaching teens with the vital message of just how dangerous reckless and distracted driving is. As an organization, they're proud to offer these methods and resources to safety partners and others committed to saving teen lives. Browning reported a very positive reception to Impact's program, as well as multiple new potential partnerships.

Through a unique, multi-faceted approach, Impact Teen Drivers uses video, interactive modules, print, audio, and presentation formats to bring teens face to face with the dangers of distracted driving: the number one killer of teens in America.