Our latest guest blog post on digital parenting comes from the team at UPS Road Code, which is pairing with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and doing wonderful things to help combat texting and driving among new drivers. In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, read on to learn more about these programs and solutions.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America and UPS Foundation Drive Change
With National UPS Road Code Program
While great strides have been made in recent years to prevent distracted driving deaths among teenagers, the United States still has a long way to go to completely eradicate the problem. In a world constantly connected through texting, social media updates and gaming applications, teens are constantly engaged with their phones, even while driving. According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, deaths of drivers ages 16 and 17 increased by 19 percent in the first six months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. The association attributed this increase to texting and talking while driving, as well as the use of mobile applications which can slow driving reaction times by 38 percent.
In an ongoing effort to combat the ever-growing issue of distracted driving, The UPS Foundation, which governs corporate citizenship and UPS’s philanthropic programs, offers UPS Road Code, a national program to teach safe driving techniques to teens. The Foundation teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and established the program on a small scale in 2009 in local Clubs across 10 cities. Continuing to drive change across the country, the highly successful UPS Road Code program is currently available in 52 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout 36 U.S. cities and reaches 5,200 teenagers nationwide.
UPS Road Code is largely based on the same safety training used by UPS’s own drivers, who are known for their safe driving techniques. In fact, UPS's 102,000 drivers worldwide log more than three billion miles per year with less than one accident per million miles driven. Taught by more than 150 UPS volunteer employees, UPS Road Code provides teens with four sessions of classroom-based instruction, as well as time ”behind the wheel” of a virtual driving simulator.
The program focuses on different safety principles each week, from basic instruction to the consequences of risky behaviors such as talking on cell phones, texting or drinking while driving. Throughout the program, teens have a chance to practice what they’ve learned on the driving simulators, which feature a computer screen that serves as a windshield to the program’s interactive animation, a steering wheel and life-like gas and brake pedals.
In 2013, BGCA and The UPS Foundation will continue to drive awareness of UPS Road Code and educate teens by hosting free community events at local Boys & Girls Clubs in various cities throughout the country. Events will include fun activities and challenges, as well as the chance for attendees to interact with the program’s driving simulators. Participants will also have the opportunity to sign a petition, pledging to make the roads safer by not driving distracted, and take an interactive online quiz to test their skills and learn about the dangers of distracted driving.
To see if UPS Road Code is available in your neighborhood, please visit www.ups.com/roadcode or www.bgca.org/roadcode. For regular updates about the program and the national and local events as well as helpful tips, follow UPS Road Code on www.facebook.com/roadcode.
Are you and your teens safe from distracted driving? Get the facts and solutions in this infographic.