Spring 2008 Forward to a Friend


Demonstrating Safe Driving

A GRANT FROM SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. ENABLED THE NEW JERSEY STATE SAFETY COUNCIL TO TEST A PROGRAM TO HELP REDUCE DEATHS DUE TO AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS.

Photos of class.

“Driving is a skill that has to be learned,” said Bill Margaretta, Council president.

New Jersey founded the New Jersey State Safety Council in 1946 to help prevent accidental deaths and injuries. Nationwide, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for citizens between 1 and 37 years old and the fifth leading cause of death for all ages. In New Jersey, one teen dies each week in an auto accident.

The Safety Council offers programs such as the National Safety Council’s (NSC) defensive driving course, which reduces points and insurance rates. In 1992, the Council implemented the NSC’s Alive at 25 program specifically to improve youth survival. Youths between 16 and 24 have the lowest seatbelt usage rate and are more likely to die because of inexperienced drivers – the more passengers in the car, the higher the death rate. Alive at 25 addresses behaviors surrounding driving; presents crash-avoidance plans; and teaches hazard recognition, defenses, and how to act in time. Thirty-three New Jersey schools participate.

Through a demonstration grant from Subaru of America, the Council tested a new program as part of Alive at 25 in a community that had recently experienced a fatal accident involving several young people. The Council trained the community’s school officials and safety officers to deliver the program, which is based on the premise that the whole community must work together to educate itself and its youth to keep them safe. First parents attended a mandatory meeting that emphasized that behavior starts at home and parental rules are strongest. Teens then participated in a four-hour class.

“Driving is a skill that has to be learned,” said Bill Margaretta, Council president. Participants analyzed filmed real-life scenarios in groups, role-played, and replicated driver and passenger interaction for choosing whether or not to ride. Teens completing the class made a commitment to safe driving.

For more about the New Jersey State Safety Council, a chapter of the NSC, go to www.njsafety.org.

Subaru in the Community
Subaru of America, Inc. believes in supporting the communities in which its employees live and work. To that end, Subaru builds community partnerships with organizations that share its drive and passion. These organizations are primarily ones that enhance the academic learning experience for young people.