SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department was awarded a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for $76,000 for a year-long program of public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries.
This funding provides local youth opportunities to lead projects that will actively engage their peers, family members and community members in reducing underage drinking and the issues that result from the behavior.
Additionally, efforts will be expanded to Cal Poly and Cuesta College, focusing on first-time drivers and the unique challenges of driver safety for college-aged students.
The agency will use the funding to continue ongoing education efforts countywide and commit to keeping our roadways safe, improving the quality of life through awareness and education.
The County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department is one of hundreds of grantees in California, with the OTS providing nearly $94 million in funding to traffic safety efforts.
“The funding will go toward efforts aimed at preventing deaths and serious injuries on our roadways,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Our road safety problems are clear. We must work toward improving roadway safety for everyone by changing behaviors to ensure every person, regardless of how they travel, goes safely.”
The grant award announcement comes following National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 18-24), a time for promoting safe driving, including distracted driving and impaired driving prevention messaging. Driving remains the most dangerous activity for teens, as crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old. In 2017, 2,247 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving a teen driver (15-18 years old), according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This year, the Behavioral Health Prevention and Outreach Division spearheaded a social media campaign with tips, risks, and rules of the road for teen drivers in partnership with local high schools and other OTS grantees.
The Behavioral Health Prevention and Outreach Division offers tips to parents and guardians about starting conversations about safe driving with teens, and the responsibilities that come with being a licensed driver:
- Avoid Distractions: Cell phone use while driving is illegal. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use a phone or other electronic device for any reason, including hands-free.
- Understand Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws: For the first 12 months you have a license or until the age of 18, no passengers under 20 years old are allowed unless a licensed parent, guardian or other adult 25 years old or older is in the car with you. Late-night driving (between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.) is also not permitted.
- Never Drive Under the Influence: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess or consume alcohol. Under California’s zero-tolerance law, any driver under 21 cannot drink any alcohol and drive (blood alcohol concentration of .01% or higher).
- Follow the Speed Limit: The road is not a racetrack. Speeding is risky behavior that increases the chances of serious injury or death in a crash.
- Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For more information, contact Megan Frauenheim, San Luis Obispo County Friday Night Live Coordinator at 805-781-4289 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.