Arlington, VA – In recognition of National Youth Traffic Safety Month, The Century Council, an independent national not-for-profit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, launched I Know Everything, a new program developed in partnership with the Virginia Supreme Court as a resource for judges to use during mandatory new drivers licensing ceremonies. Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the only State in the nation that requires parents and their teens to attend a new driver licensing ceremony conducted by a judge.
Virginia new driver licensing ceremonies present a unique and important opportunity to underscore safe driving facts and tips in an interactive and compelling format. I Know Everything consists of a video with a voiceover suggesting that teens ‘know everything,’ for example:
- • I know not to text and drive
- • I know not to drink alcohol and drive, it’s dangerous, illegal, and just plain stupid
- • I know my parents can take away my keys anytime
Additionally, the I Know Everything program has a website (www.iknoweverything.com) with downloadable information for students and parents as well as a facilitator’s guide for judges. The program aims to prompt thoughtful discussions during the licensing ceremony and continue conversations between parents and teens at home to keep everyone safe on our roadways.
“Teen driving is a safety topic I am well-acquainted with as the father of two teen drivers. As a Virginia resident, I realized there was a need for well-researched and updated resources that would capture the attention of today’s teens, highlight the issue of distracted driving and assist parents in understanding they are the most important influence in their teens’ driving behaviors,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds. Furthermore, 60% of teenage passenger deaths in 2009 occurred in vehicles driven by another teen (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Distractions in the vehicle extend to risks including underage drinking. Parents still have the predominant power to influence their kids not to drink alcohol underage. Today, 83% of youth ages 10-18 years old, cite parents as the leading influence in their decision to not drink at all, or not to drink on occasion.
The statistics demonstrate we need to work diligently to curb distractions behind the wheel and encourage safer roadways. In a survey conducted by The Century Council, matched pairs of teens and their parents agreed that parents are the most important instructors and disseminators for information about driver safety. Parents should be reminded to model good behavior and set limits for their teen when they are behind the wheel to help limit distractions.
I Know Everything program kits have been distributed to over 120 Virginia judges who conduct driver licensing ceremonies. Judges will also have parent and teen tips to distribute at the ceremonies as consistent reminders of steps we need to take to keep our roadways safe.
The Century Council
The Century Council, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Century Council promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org.
About I Know Everything
The I Know Everything program includes a facilitator’s guide for the presiding judge that pulls together current facts on teen driver safety, tips for parents and teens as they embark on the freedom of driving, a dynamic video on key safe driving messages and general resources for further information. The materials included in the facilitator’s guide were developed based on the results of the research above and in collaboration with the Virginia Supreme Court. All of the materials, including the video, can be viewed and downloaded from the I Know Everything website: www.iknoweverything.org.
LepakJ@centurycouncil.org or (202) 637-0077