To recognize Teen Driving Awareness Month (January), the SafeLIGHT Foundation’s Teen Ambassadors hosted a town hall meeting with their peers at Morton West High School in Berwyn on January 25. Teen Ambassadors Alejandro Davila, Stephanie Ramirez and Aliana Negron led 80 students in a discussion of the risks and responsibilities associated with teen driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for U.S. teens. About 2,800 teens lost their lives in car crashes in 2020. That’s an average of eight teens a day.
“The Teen Ambassador program was created in response to the alarming rate of teen fatalities and injuries from traffic crashes,” said Nikki Zollar, Chairman of the SafeLIGHT Foundation. “Because driver inexperience is a leading contributor to crashes and injuries for teen drivers, we partner with law enforcement professionals, schools and parents to help reinforce safe driving messages to prevent crashes and save lives.”
The Teen Ambassador program is sponsored by Donate Life Illinois and Gift of Hope. “Donate Life Illinois is honored to partner with the SafeLIGHT Foundation to educate teens on safe driving, along with organ, eye and tissue donation. This is important work that provides teen drivers the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their peers,” said Marion Shuck, Chair, Donate Life Illinois Committee.
The program is also supported by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, which is a strong advocate of teen driver safety. Donna Bilski, Metro Driver’s Education Liaison, attended the Town Hall meeting and spoke to students about the importance of driver’s education.
The SafeLIGHT Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting safe driving behavior through charitable giving to traffic safety programs and people and organizations that support responsible driving.
Applications are now being accepted for the SafeLIGHT Foundation’s 2023-24 Teen Ambassador Program. Members of the program use their leadership skills to serve as safe driving ambassadors with their high school communities to promote and encourage responsible driving. Teen Ambassadors who graduate from the program will earn college scholarships.
For more information about the program, including eligibility requirements, visit safelightfoundation.com/teen-ambassador-program.