October 31 is deadline for high schools to apply

 Teen Safe Driving Program seeks to increase participation

Students at more than 900 Michigan high schools have the opportunity to help make teenagers better, safer drivers by taking part in the Strive For a Safer Drive (S4SD) program.

This public-private partnership between AAA Michigan, Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning seeks to reduce the leading cause of death for teens: traffic crashes.  In 2013, there were 41,375 crashes in Michigan with a driver age 15-19.  Those crashes resulted in 103 fatalities and 821 serious injuries.

S4SD helps teens talk to other teens about safe driving.  Up to 50 high schools in the top counties for teen driver traffic fatalities and serious injuries will be selected to participate.

The program is expanding to 25 eligible counties, including Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Muskegon, Oak­land, Ottawa, Saginaw, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, and Wayne.

Participating schools will receive up to $2,000 for students to create teen-led traffic safety campaigns aimed at educating their fellow classmates about distracted driving, seat belt use, speeding, underage drinking/impaired driving or winter driving.  Following the activity phase, participating schools will have the opportunity to send students to a free Ford DSFL hands-on driving clinic with professional driving instructors in the spring.  A video about the driving clinic is on the S4SD website, Michigan. gov/s4sd.

High schools in the eligible counties are encouraged to apply for S4SD.  Participation and application information is available on Michigan.gov/s4sd.  Applications are due Oct. 31.

Since S4SD began in 2011, the number of participating high schools has nearly tripled.  Last year, 43 schools participated in the program.

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