(SAN DIEGO, Sept. 28, 2010) – The newly-formed Trauma Research Education Foundation’s (TREF) Safe Teen Driving Council, which includes the Automobile Club of Southern California, will host a safety fair for teen-age drivers and their parents in observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week.
The event is free and will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at Torrey Pines High School, 3710 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teen-agers nationwide, according to the Auto Club and the council was formed in response to teen driver fatalities and injuries in the area. In 2008 in California, nearly 296 teens, ages 15-19, were killed and another 27,878 were injured in traffic crashes, and of those individuals, 26 teens, ages 15-19, were killed and another 2,194 were injured in traffic crashes in San Diego County, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“Every year our Level I-Trauma Center sees the results of car crashes ending in fatalities or permanent disabilities involving teen-agers in San Diego County,” said Raul Coimbra, M.D., Ph.D., The Monroe E. Trout Professor of Surgery and Chief, Division of Trauma Surgical Critical Care and Burns at UC San Diego Health System. “The cases are devastating, even more so because they could have been prevented. Young adults and parents need to understand that trauma is not an accident. It involves behaviors such as texting, not wearing a seatbelt and eating that should be avoided while driving. With more than 200,000 teen drivers on the road in San Diego, it’s important for us all to be aware of and practice safe driving habits.”
The teen driver fair will feature discussion panels that will help teens and parents learn about the state’s teen driver law and will touch on teen-related cell phone, texting and DUI laws. Information also will be offered, including key reasons why teens crash and the most dangerous driving situations for teens and how to avoid them. The event also will feature music and a DJ, lunch and beverages, contests, giveaways and other interactive activities for parents, teens and families.
One of those interactive activities is a custom “car 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 car fit also will receive DriverZed, an interactive CD that helps teens become aware of driving risks for novice drivers.
Teens may also try “fatal vision” goggles that simulate the dangers of alcohol-impairment while trying to complete a task. The event also will feature a 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 will have vehicles on site to review under-the-hood vehicle maintenance tips with teens.
Members of TREF’s Safe Teen Driving Council will be participating. They include: the Auto Club, CHP, UCSD Medical Center, MADD, Palomar Medical Center, Rady Children’s Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Public Safety Council, North Coastal Prevention Coalition, San Diego Police, San Diego County Sheriff’s, San Diego alliance for a Drug-Free youth, Teens for Teen Safety, Think First-Sharp on Survival and DriveCam.
For more information about the fair, call 714-885-2300 or email Jferree@ucsd.edu.