July 30, 2010
Congressman Mike Capuano has introduced the Students Taking Action for Road Safety (STARS) Act, legislation to establish a grant program within the Department of Transportation focusing on teen driver safety.
"According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year olds. A number of safety programs currently exist for bicyclists, motorcyclists, older drivers and infant passengers but there is no single dedicated program for younger drivers who are three times as likely to die in a car accident as all other driving populations. Programming targeting our young people which will help them develop safe driving skills is long overdue," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.
The STARS Act will create a grant program for states to establish teen traffic safety initiatives. The state grants would support training and technical assistance to help schools and communities either establish new programming or expand existing programming. Funding will also be available to establish a technical assistance center and clearinghouse for state and local officials, student leaders and educators. The legislation establishes a National Teen Driver Advisory Council to develop an education and prevention strategy for reducing injuries and fatalities for teen drivers. The Council will also serve as a forum for teen drivers, officials and traffic experts to develop methods of reducing traffic-related injuries and fatalities among America's youth.
"This bill is a giant step forward in promoting safe teen driving and avoiding preventable tragedies that affect too many teens and their families, as well as all of us who share the roads with them," said Penny Wells, Executive Director of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). "Teens can be a powerful force in prevention, and on behalf of thousands of SADD chapters across the country, we are grateful to Congressman Capuano for his leadership in this effort."
A companion bill will be introduced in the Senate by Senators Klobuchar and Dorgan. Congressman Capuano's legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation.
Contact: Alison M. Mills 617-621-6208