School is out, marking the unofficial start of summertime when millions of Americans will hit the road. It’s known by safety experts as the 100 deadliest days of summer, and it’s especially dangerous for teens. According to recent data released by the Georgia Department of Transportation, more than 1,550 people lost their lives on Georgia roads in 2017, well above the low in 2014 of 1,170. The number of road fatalities in Georgia have increased 33 percent in the last two years, and motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three teenage deaths according to the CDC.
The recent spike in Georgia road fatalities, which has largely been attributed to distracted driving and the use of cell phones, prompted Gov. Nathan Deal to sign the hands-free distracted driving bill into law recently, requiring everyone to use hands-free technology when using cell phones or other electronic devices.
For nearly 10 years, the UPS Foundation has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help combat teenage traffic fatalities through the UPS Road Code program. The UPS Road Code program is based on the same safety training used with UPS’s own drivers, and is taught by current UPS drivers who volunteer their time at the club. The program focuses on different safety principles, from basic instruction to the consequences of risky behaviors such as talking on cell phones, texting or drinking while driving.
I’d like to invite you to come pay us a visit at our first Road Code class of the summer, this coming Tuesday, June 5, from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Fuqua Boys & Girls Club on 405 Lovejoy St., in downtown Atlanta. We’ll have a new group of local teenagers ready to take the class which provides teens with a combination of classroom-based instruction, as well as time “behind the wheel” on a virtual driving simulator. We’ll have officials from the Boys & Girls Club and UPS available to speak about the program and the positive impact it has on the teenagers who participate.
The program’s driving simulators test teens’ safe driving knowledge using a computer screen featuring interactive animation, a steering wheel, and life-like gas and brake pedals.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. It’s also a great opportunity to see the recent technology upgrades and renovations made using a $25,000 UPS grant awarded to the Fuqua Boys & Girls Club. All renovations and upgrades were done by the teenagers (something they are very proud of).