High schoolers pledge to #GetThereSafe, overcome No. 1 teen-killer

ST. GEORGE — A teen driver safety program launched at Pine View High School Friday, the second Washington County school to participate in the Allstate Foundation’s “#GetThereSafe” program aimed at encouraging teens to avoid the No. 1 teen killer: car crashes.

“If there was a disease that was wiping out our teenagers at the rate of thousands per year, there would be no end to what we would do as a society to stop that,” Jeffrey Runge, M.D., former head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, said in a statement released in 2005.

Allstate Foundation's #GetThereSafe flag for program launched at Pine View High School Friday. St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Allstate foundation, St. George News
Allstate Foundation’s #GetThereSafe flag for program launched at Pine View High School Friday. St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Allstate foundation, St. George News

On Friday students at Pine View High School joined 500 schools across the country and raised a #GetThereSafe flag, representing their commitment to learn safer driving skills, to educate their peers and encourage each other to practice safe driving behaviors.

#GetThereSafe is one of the Allstate Foundation’s signature programs that ‘takes a positive approach to addressing the No. 1 killer of teens by, it says, “making smart driving socially acceptable.”

In essence, the program promotes accountability and education through one teen influencing another.

This September 2016 photo shows a student at Desert Hills High School signing flag and pledging to learn safe driving skills and help other students with good driving behavior. Desert Hills was the first of two Washington County high schools to launch the program this schoolyear. St. George, Utah, September 2016 | Photo courtesy of Shonie Christensen, St. George News
This September 2016 photo shows a student at Desert Hills High School signing flag and pledging to learn safe driving skills and help other students with good driving behavior. At the rear is Allstate agent Shonie Christensen who brought the #GetThereSafe program to Desert Hills first and then to Pine View High School where it launched Friday. St. George, Utah, September 2016 | Photo courtesy of Shonie Christensen, St. George News

In Washington County, the foundation’s partner is Allstate agency owner and program sponsor Shonie Christensen. Friday’s launch was the second of two Washington County schools thus far to get with the program, the first being Desert Hills High School in September.

“We are really excited,” Christensen said of Pine View’s launch. “This is the second school that we’ve been able to bring the #GetThereSafe program to.”

Research funded through the Allstate Foundation since 2005 shows that adolescent brain development plays a huge role in adolescent driving behaviors. The foundation used much of that research to design the program. Read more here.

The program provides interactive lessons for students that focus on speeding, distracted driving, seat belt use and other driver-related behaviors. Parents are provided presentations on the important role they play in their teen’s driving habits as well. According to Allstate’s State of Teen Driving Report 2015, 89 percent of teens say their parents are influential in encouraging safer driving.

Francisca Pena, an agriculture teacher at Pine View and adviser to Future Farmers of America in the area, became involved in the safe driving program after learning about it from one of her students.

Students sign flag and pledge to participate in Allstate Foundation's #GetThereSafe program that launched at Pine View High School Friday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Students sign flag and pledge to participate in Allstate Foundation’s #GetThereSafe program that launched at Pine View High School Friday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“Once I heard about this awesome program we wanted to bring it to the school,” she said, “to bring awareness of the No. 1 killer of teens, which is car crashes.”

When he learned of the program through Pena and her students, Pine View High Principal Mike Mees said, he supported the program to help his students refrain from texting and driving and keep them safe on the road.

“It sends a message to all of our students that they want to keep their fellow students safe,” Mees said, adding “It’s a valuable program.”

Pena, along with several students and FFA associates, worked the tables Friday as students signed the #GetThereSafe flag that would be raised later in the day. By signing the flag, students are making a pledge to participate in the program, refrain from texting and driving and to encourage safe driving behavior with each other.

#GetThereSafe focuses on the top three risky behaviors that contribute to more traffic related deaths than any other – speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and becoming distracted while driving.

National statistics

Statistics provided by the Allstate Foundation relating to the #GetThereSafe program | Image provided by Allstate Foundation, St. George News
Statistics provided by the Allstate Foundation relating to the #GetThereSafe program | Image provided by Allstate Foundation, St. George News

Research and statistics provided by the Allstate Foundation show:

  • Speeding is a factor in 1 of every 3 teen fatal crashes, and the risk of being killed doubles for every 10 miles over the speed of 50 miles per hour.
  • More than half of all teen drivers and nearly 60 percent of their passengers involved in traffic-related fatalities were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research also shows that 3 out of 4 people who are ejected from the vehicle during a crash die from their injuries.
  • For teen drivers, adding one teen passenger to the car increases their chance of being involved in a fatal car crash by 44 percent, and the risk increases dramatically with each additional passenger.
  • Teens ages 15 to 24 represent 14 percent of the U.S. population but account for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of the total costs of crash-related injuries among males, and 28 percent, or $7 billion, of the total costs among females.

Utah statistics

Allstate Foundation's #GetThereSafe program launches with Pine View High School students signing flag Friday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Allstate Foundation’s #GetThereSafe program launches with Pine View High School students signing flag Friday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

For Utah teens, the risks may be even greater.

According to Utah Department of Public Safety’s ‘Crash Report – Teen Drivers, 2014, statewide statistics show the following:

  • In 2014, teenage drivers were involved in 10,719 car crashes that resulted in 5,198 injuries and 33 deaths.
  • Vehicles with teen drivers traveling 40 mph or higher were 5.5 times more likely to be fatal, and the risk of being killed in a car crash doubles for every 10 miles over the speed of 50 miles per hour.
  • Unrestrained teen drivers and their passengers were 26 times more likely than restrained occupants to be killed in a crash, and 3 out of 4 people who are ejected from the vehicle during a crash die from their injuries.
  • Texting and driving contributes to more deaths than a person with a blood alcohol level that is twice the legal limit.
  • The average length of time a driver’s eye leaves the roadway to send or receive a message is 4.6 seconds – that is roughly the length of a football field if traveling at 60 mph.

Allstate Foundation’s mission

The Allstate Foundation’s mission is to address one of the primary issues affecting teen drivers, described in the following statement:

Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes among teen drivers. In fact, experience and age have been directly linked to reducing crashes. As teens have considerably less experience driving than older adults, they must direct more concentration to their driving in order to remain focused and safe.

Christensen hopes to bring the #GetThereSafe program to more high schools in Washington County next year.

“We commend the efforts of Ms. Pena, the Allstate Foundation and the students that have become involved in bringing this program to our school,” Mees said.

The Allstate Corporation is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households.  In 2015, According to information provided by Allstate, the Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities. In 2005, the foundation’s goal was to help reduce teen traffic fatalities by 50 percent by 2015.

For more information about the #GetThereSafe program and valuable tips for teen drivers and parents, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.

Resources

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Bob October 23, 2016 at 12:06 am

    i remember the way i drove at 16, and looking back i wish they’d offered a far more comprehensive training program. Are today’s training programs an absolute barebones abysmal failure like what we were offered back in the day? i have no idea. i’d like to see something put in place that is like 3 year learners permit–like sort of a trial period. If the record stays fairly clean for the 3 years u earn an actual license. Got to wonder who is the bigger danger on the road: teenies or these old-timers that are having medical episodes and dying behind the wheel, any thoughts?

    • Bob October 23, 2016 at 12:09 am

      oh yea, and of course we didn’t have all these “smart phones” and GPS’s, etc, and some of these new cars–got to fiddle with the touchscreen just to turn on the a/c or heat… hmm

    • .... October 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Hey Dumbob they made it simple so stupid people like you could legally drive

  • RealMcCoy October 24, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    What flag are they flying above the GetThereSafe flag? The caption says it’s at Pineview school, but that’s not a Stars and Stripes flying above it. It almost looks like an Arizona State flag.

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