In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, the Automobile Club of Southern California, the California Dept. of Insurance and the Conor Lynch Foundation today joined to discuss teen driver safety, teen driver crashes and to promote an upcoming regional driving safety fair at a local high school to help teen drivers and their parents.
The fair is free and open to the public. It is being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Notre Dame High School, 13645 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks 91423.
The fair is of special interest to Notre Dame High School since two years ago Notre Dame High cross country runner Conor Lynch was hit and killed by a car driven by a teen driver while training with the team. His parents Jeri Dye Lynch and Mark Lynch started the foundation to “honor Conor” and to promote teen driver, pedestrian, runner and cyclist safety.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens nationwide and teens have the highest crash rate of any age group, according to the Auto Club. The Auto Club and the Conor Lynch Foundation collaborated to host the regional fair in response to teen driver fatalities and injuries in the Los Angeles area. In 2010 in California, 191 teens from ages 15 to 19 were killed and another 24,616 were injured in traffic crashes, and of those individuals, 39 teens were killed and an additional 7,120 were injured in traffic crashes in Los Angeles County, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“The teen driver safety fair focuses on proven ways that teens and parents can work together to help teens become safer drivers and it will also provide take-home resources aimed at keeping teen drivers safe,” according to Auto Club Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Alice Bisno.
“Recent AAA research findings reinforce the importance of parents setting and enforcing family rules and parent-teen driving agreements to ensure new teen drivers learn good driving skills,” said Bisno. “The fair will have resources to help parents and teens increase their involvement to reduce the risk of teen death and injury from car crashes.”
The teen driver event also will feature:
- Panel discussions that will help teens and parents learn about the state’s Graduated Driver License law for teen drivers, teen brain development, DUI laws, and risks associated with distracted driving and other high-risk teen driving behaviors. Parents and teens can learn the key reasons why teens crash, the most dangerous driving situations for teens and how to avoid them. The interactive event also will feature music and a DJ, lunch and beverages, contests, giveaways and other activities for parents, teens and families.
- A demonstration of the Auto Club’s teen driver coaching tool AAAOnboard®, a palm-sized device that plugs into a car’s On Board Diagnostic port and allows parents insured by the Auto Club to set driving parameters like speed and geographic boundaries for their teen. It also can pinpoint the exact location of the vehicle the teen is driving.
“Teen driver safety is everyone’s concern from families to friends to members of every community,” said Bisno. “The fair will highlight key issues affecting teen drivers today such as what puts teens at increased risk and discussions of teen driving habits like not wearing a safety belt, speeding, texting and DUI.”
The Conor Lynch Foundation was established to support new and existing programs that raise awareness and promote the safety of runners, pedestrians, cyclists and young drivers. Conor Lynch was a tri-athlete who was training with his high school cross country team in 2010 when he was killed by a teen driver. He was 16 years old. The woman driver was 18 years old. The crash occurred during National Teen Safe Driving Week.
“Every day we hear about another driving-related tragedy that could be avoided, and every day we’re seeing local leaders and businesses stand up against teen texting and driving,” said Lynch, president of the Conor Lynch Foundation. “We’re thrilled and touched that we’re not alone in our mission to promote road safety. The Teen Driver Safety Fair will be held on the final day of National Teen Driver Safety Week, so my hope is that everyone who attends will learn everything they can to be safe while on the road.”
The fair also will include the following:
- “Fatal vision” goggles that simulate the dangers of alcohol impairment while trying to complete a task
- Rock climbing wall which, when teens reach the top, will put them in a controlled free-fall similar to the impact of a 20 mph car crash
- AAA Approved Auto Repair specialists with vehicles on site to review under-the-hood vehicle maintenance tips with teens and parents
- A TextKills bus pledge that can be signed by teens to commit against texting and driving and a driving simulation course using remote control cars
- AT & T Driving Simulator to demonstrate the risk with distracted driving
- A display of classic cars, hot rods and race cars
- A custom “vehicle fit,” which teaches teen drivers seat-belt, foot pedals, mirrors and seat-height adjustments by Auto Club Driving School instructors to help ensure that they understand how to be positioned safely in a vehicle before they drive. Participants of Teen Vehicle Fit also will receive DriverZed, an interactive CD that helps teens become aware of driving risks for novice drivers.
Other organizations that will be participating include: the California Dept. of Insurance, the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles, CHP, Driving Sober to Save a Life, Donate Life, LAPD, LA Fire Dept. – Engine 102, Mid Valley YMCA and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
Also participating: Pinecrest Schools, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Northridge Hospital Trauma, Berman for Congress, Quest Driving Safely, Sports Authority, TextKills, Impact Teen Driving, LA Dept. of Public Health, AT&T and teen sensation singer Ryan Beatty, Keeps Kids Alive-Drive 25 and others.