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Posted July 23, 2013
All Children's Hosts Teen Safe Driving Leadership Academy

Teen Safe Driving Academy PArticipants

All Children's Hospital hosted the inaugural Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition Leadership Academy on July 15-17 to train and empower teens to become safety ambassadors at their schools and their communities. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.

Over 25 teens from throughout Florida attended the academy which included traffic safety experts, educators, parents and community leaders. The Florida Department of Transportation Safety Office, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Florida Sheriff's Department Teen Driver's Challenge, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and Florida SADD and MADD were also represented.

The Leadership Academy was designed to train and inspire teens as leaders who will create a safe driving campaign for their community. They receive seed funding for their project and mentorship support. They will join the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition as advisory board members.

During the numerous workshops, the teens were educated on many aspects of the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. They also developed injury prevention strategies to share at their schools and in their communities.  FDOT's Public Information Officer, Dick Kane, conducted a media workshop to assist them in their efforts.

Patricia Byers, M.D, a trauma surgeon from Miami, spoke about the different causes of traumatic brain injuries. Melissa Wandall, who lost her husband to a driver who ran a red light in 2003, spoke about her efforts to get the red light bill passed in 2010. The teens participated in a road safety assessment and identified engineering issues to consider when building roads, intersections and sidewalks. They visited parts of downtown St. Petersburg and made suggestions about possible improvements to roads and other areas that seemed unsafe.

The teens also tackled issues concerning impaired driving and visited the All Children's Emergency Center where they met medical director, Wassam Rahman, M.D., who spoke about dangers of driving without seat belts.

Watch WTSP Channel 10's coverage of the Leadership Academy