SADD Joins Partners in the Towards Zero Deaths Initiative
Thirty-five years ago, a revolution began in the halls of Wayland High School in Wayland, MA with a simple idea that one young person, when empowered, can and will make a difference. Wayland was the birthplace of SADD after that community suffered the loss of three students in three alcohol-related crashes. What followed was a decade of students accepting responsibility and taking change into their own hands. Students rose up and advocated, educated, and joined forces with parents, teachers, and other caring adults, businesses, legislators, law enforcement, and the community at large to stop the deaths and injuries that resulted from the decision to drink and drive.
SADD students continue that revolution today because they know that their prevention work has no end. It’s true, with decades of mass media campaigns, local peer-to-peer and community education and programming, improvements in road conditions and emergency response tactics and changes in laws, our population is much more aware of the dangers on the roads and the long-term numbers do show the progress. However, motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. General lack of experience behind the wheel, judgement and decision-making ability, as well as distractions from other people in the car and personal technology all contribute to the fact that teen traffic safety is an issue that must stay at the forefront of our work. Having just one young person die on our roadways is one too many.
That is why at the recent SADD National Conference on Youth Health & Safety, we announced that SADD officially joined the “Towards Zero Death” initiative. This effort, led by the Department of Transportation and dozens of other organizations across the country, seeks to achieve one goal- a day when no life is lost on our roads. A day when every mom and dad, brother and sister, coworker and friend, gets where they are going safely, every trip, every time.
An effort like this seems impossible. Then I am reminded of the numerous moments in history when we doubted the ability of human drive and passion. The students and adults that make up SADD Nation have that drive and passion to make this goal happen by using the SADD approach. The SADD approach challenges each of us to empower the teens around us- whether they are our friends or our children, students in our classroom or in our neighborhood. It challenges us to engage parents, so they know the laws and have those meaningful conversations that must happen to make our roadways safe. The SADD approach mobilizes communities because it not only takes a village to raise a child; it takes a village to keep a teen safe. In the end, we believe the SADD approach will change lives and change the world.
On SADD’s 35th birthday, our wish is simple. We need each of you! We ask you to join this commitment with us. Join the commitment by simply reflecting on how you drive each time to get behind the wheel. Speak-up when your drivers is being unsafe, and make sure that everyone around us gets home safely.
Liberty Mutual and SADD believe that effective parent-teen communication is critical to helping teens recognize and choose safe driving behaviors. The is both a conversation-starter about safety issues and a customized agreement that lets you create and uphold family driving rules.
Towards Zero Deaths:
Downloadable Information from the CDC:
- Eight Danger Zones for Teens Behind the Wheel[PDF – 454 KB]
- Pediatricians and Safe Teen Driving[PDF – 520 KB]
- Parents’ Guide to Safe Teen Driving[PDF – 1 MB]
- Media Outreach Guide[PDF – 1 MB]
- Event Planning Guide[PDF – 4 MB]
Free Materials from The National Road Safety Foundation: