The commission, administered through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, is the first in the nation to be composed exclusively of teens who will advise the governor and the state’s public safety officials on effective ways to communicate a safe driving message to the state’s teen drivers.
The ultimate goal of the commission is to reduce the number of teen crashes, injuries and fatalities on Georgia highways. Vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death for teenagers in Georgia.
The group will help Deal develop a statewide strategy for educating teen drivers on the risks and consequences associated with driving while distracted and driving while impaired by alcohol. The teen commission will also focus on ways to increase teenagers’ awareness of the dangers of sending text messages or using smart phones while driving.
By the end of its term, the commission will present a report of its findings to Deal and the transportation committees in the Georgia House and Senate.
“When it comes to reaching teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving or simply using a phone while operating a vehicle, we decided to go straight to the source,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “We’re looking for answers from these young people on how we can reach their peers. They will tell us how to teach Georgia’s teenagers about highway safety in ways we haven’t thought of before — and we plan to listen.”
Commission members will meet the first time at the Georgia State Capitol Thursday.
A call for applications last month, encouraging all Georgia drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 to apply, drew more than 180 applicants.
Those chosen represent 19 different cities across the state and have already exhibited leadership qualities in their local communities.
Commission members have also proven that they are in good standing academically and have clean driving records.
“This group of teenagers comprises some of Georgia’s best and brightest future leaders,” said Deal. “We are seeking out-of-the box solutions to reducing the teen crash rate in Georgia, and I am confident this commission is equipped to provide us with those answers.”
Local commission members are Cyrianne Keutcha, of Stone Mountain, and Shanise Hood, of Ellenwood.