Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U. S. (CDC, 2015). In Florida alone, there were more than 30,000 crashes involving teenagers in 2014 (FLHSMV, 2015).
The Teen Traffic Safety Program gives presentations in high schools in the Tampa Area to reach all students enrolled in driver education or health classes. The presentations cover bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, and driving. “Everyone at one time or another is a pedestrian,” says Gary Tait, School Traffic Safety Specialist, “We are making future drivers aware of pedestrians and cyclists, and teaching future pedestrians and cyclists.”
Since January 2013, safety presentations have been given to over 20,000 students, teaching them how to follow state bicycle laws, how to cross intersections safely, and how traffic control devices work to enforce safe driving. Traffic safety education is currently taught in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Citrus County school districts, and will soon be extended to Hernando County.
The Teen Traffic Safety Program is part of local education and outreach efforts to reduce traffic fatalities in the Tampa Bay Area, and is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).