Generation tXt, also known as GentXt, is a multi-faceted program designed by a diverse group of teens to help fellow teens and families practice safe driving, specifically by addressing the hazards of texting and emailing while driving.
Teen driver statistics indicate that 21% of fatal car crashes in 16-19 year old drivers were the result of cell phone usage.
The program focuses on educating 9th and 10th grade students, and their parents. These teens are excited about driving and by educating them before they get behind the wheel of a car, they may be less likely to text while driving. In 2010, Forbes Magazine released a list of the 10 most dangerous cities to live. Data collected from the FBI included violent crimes and traffic fatalities. Tulsa was listed #6 (OKC #9) mostly due to the latter.
Since car crashes are the #1 cause of death among teens, and there is a 23 times greater risk of crash or near crash due to texting while driving, our project addresses the issue by focusing on reducing traffic fatalities. There is a growing number of drivers of all ages who text while driving, in spite of increasing public awareness of the dangers. Research shows that 46% of teens admit to texting while driving, yet it is their #1 driving distraction.
The #1 distraction for drivers of any age is use of a cell phone.
Driving a vehicle while texting is 6 times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Teens almost universally state that their parents serve as role models for texting while driving, implying that as teens become experienced drivers they will feel justified to text while driving. Oklahoma became the 46th state to pass a law against texting while driving. We are the only teen community group in Oklahoma that is working in an organized, systematic way to decrease the mortality rate due to texting while driving.
Generation tXt aims to help save lives (and money) from car crashes due to texting while driving. Our intention is to educate the public on the dangers of texting and driving while providing safe driving strategies. This is the first year that we will create awareness that texting while driving is now against the law. The new law went into effect 11/1/2015 in Oklahoma. The intended outcome and benefits of this program is for more lives to be saved from injury, disability and death from car crashes due to texting while driving.
The main goals for our program are:
1. Reduce crash and near crash by 20% in all age groups due to texting while driving;
2. Make our education programs accessible to all high schools; including but not limited to FCCLA, Student Council, Key Club, NHS, etc in our county; Make our Campaign Toolkit including a PowerPoint presentation available for free to any Oklahoma high school;
3. Expand our educational program to include driver education schools in our community which will include parents of teen driving students with a goal of changing driving behaviors of adults;
4. Continue with legislative education related to the new texting and driving prevention law.
For more than 6 years, GentXt has demonstrated success in our community by reaching an ever-increasing number of teens and adults.
GentXt has partnered with a record number of community and state leaders, organizations, driving schools and programs. One of our main objectives was accomplished this year when Oklahoma became the 46th state to pass a law against texting and driving. Our teen leaders are blitzing the community with posters, social media and participating in Tulsa press conferences for the new law.
Four new developments to reach additional teens include participation in the Youth Forum for the Eastern Investment Workforce Board, assisting with the recent statewide FCCLA program called OK Challenge and attending the OK School Resource Officer Conference. In addition, new rural high schools are being reached with our program including Sperry, Bluejacket, Sallisaw, Gans and Verdigris.
The GentXt teens created new marketing products which we share at “GentXt Day at the Capitol” and “It’s Not OK to Text & Drive” at Woodland Hills Mall. Teen leaders are communicating with peers by making presentations at high schools, driver education classes, and promoting State Farm’s “Celebrate My Drive” program through social media.
One of our most successful events continues to be at the Student Council State Convention where GentXt reached more than 2,000 high school students and 200 advisors from 75 Oklahoma high schools. Our involvement with Safe Communities, Mayor’s Police and Community Coalition, the City of Tulsa, Drive Aware Oklahoma, OK Highway Safety Office and the OK Department of Transportation keeps us connected with traffic safety statewide leaders.
We also have national reach by serving as a member of the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). Two of our high-school juniors were selected to serve at the National Teen Safe Driving Summit in Washington D.C., which included leaders from the National Transportation Safety Board, NHTSA and State Farm.
Generation tXt goes to Capitol: Tulsa-area teens praise anti-texting law, want dangers of texting taught in driver’s ed
Tulsa World, Wednesday February 10, 2016
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