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PITTSBURGH, PA - September 10, 2014 - Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and The Allstate Foundation are partnering again for the sixth year to help curb distracted driving by teenagers, including talking on cell phones or texting while driving.
The program, "FOCUS – Safe Teen Driving", generously funded through a grant from the Allstate Foundation, targets teen drivers, parents of adolescents and primary care physicians, with the goal of educating teens about the dangers of driving while distracted.
This year, The Allstate Foundation awarded Children's $35,000 for the program, which will help fund items including the"FOCUS – Action Against Distraction" Driver Simulation Project, a cutting-edge simulator that uses high-definition video scenes and gaming technology to prevent destructive driving behaviors among teens and young adults. The program runs throughout the school year and is taught by the Injury Prevention Team at Children's Hospital.
The Allstate Foundation will also help fund a grant competition to provide schools with funds to continue their own safe teen driver programs; a safe teen driver summit for more than 200 students from different schools to come together to work on teen driver issues; and sponsorships of the Allegheny County (plus two additional counties) Teen Driver competitions.
"Motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, but many crashes can be prevented with the right education and experience," said Barbara Gaines, MD, director, Trauma and Injury Prevention at Children's Hospital. "This is why the partnership with The Allstate Foundation is so vital; we need to start educating kids early before they start driving to illustrate these consequences and not to repeat these mistakes in reality."
Teens are at greatest risk from being killed in distracted driving-related crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Sixteen percent of distracted driver crashes involve teen drivers. Ten percent of drivers under age 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 people injured in crashes where at least one form of distracted driving was reported.
The total donation from Allstate for the six years of the program totals $210,000.
For more information about teen driver safety and simulator program at Children's Hospital, please visit www.chp.edu/CHP/street+and+off-road+for+parents.
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