In honor of National Youth Traffic Safety Month and to respond to the challenge of keeping teens safe on Florida roadways, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of the Florida Highway Patrol is working with Group 5 Advertising, a Florida-based professional advertising company, to design and develop a brand new website that is video-based and teen-driven--a website by teens for teens. Funding for the website project is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Florida Department of Transportation State Safety Office, two partners dedicated to supporting teen safety initiatives that help decrease teen traffic fatalities in Florida.
Since traffic crashes remain the number one cause of death and injury of teens in the U.S., anything that can be done to encourage safe driving practices among teens can help prevent injury and save lives. It is important that steps be taken to help protect teen drivers and passengers and to encourage them to stay safe on roadways. Getting teens to listen to safety messages and practice safety behind the wheel is an enormous challenge. But a challenge that is well worth the effort. Since most teens spend a great deal of time on the Internet, getting the word out on-line is a logical place to help face this challenge.
The new Florida teen website will launch mid-Summer 2008, and the URL domain name and website address will be announced at that time. The new website will be the first of its kind in our state to present a format for Florida teens to express themselves in video messages to other teens all over the world about what they see, feel, and do behind the wheel and on the road and the choices they make while on the roadways of Florida. In addition, these video messages will be posted on popular sites such as YouTube, MySpace, and FaceBook, and other sites teens visit on a regular basis.
Teen safety websites are nothing new. In fact, hundreds already exist like this one from Texas at t-driver.com. Many have been set up by other agencies and organizations dedicated to keeping teens safe. However, this new Florida teen website format is quite different from most because it will offer teens the chance to talk directly to their peers in a series of candid on-camera testimonials where they talk about their experiences and discuss the kinds of choices they make as they relate to driving and riding in vehicles in Florida. In addition, the new website will offer Florida teens a chance to offer their input in Q&A surveys as well as provide them with access to up-to-date, accurate traffic safety information and safe driving tips provided by reliable sources, but written by teens themselves. The tools and advice will come from the teens communicating with other teens, not adults telling them what to do. And all the experiences will be real!
For more information about National Youth Traffic Safety Month, please visit www.noys.org. National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), a nonprofit membership coalition representing national youth and youth serving organizations that focuses on youth safety and health. For more information about what teens have to say about driver safety around the nation check out Act Out Loud at www.actoutloud.org
To find out more about the new Florida teen website, please visit call Kim Jones, Project Coordinator at (850) 617-2379.