Applied Information Blog
The SteerSmart initiative: Working to protect vulnerable young drivers
Bryan Mulligan, CEO of Applied Information and host of TravelSafely radio, recently interviewed Atlanta native Lauren Winborne founder of the SteerSmart program. SteerSmart is an educational initiative and non-profit organization centered around protecting vulnerable, newly-licensed, and inexperienced high school and college drivers. Winborne is also a mother to six children, which is how her concern and passion for safe driving was born.
SteerSmart’s unique approach
SteerSmart’s mission is to help young motorists survive their early years of driving. The program is more than a “Don’t Drink and Drive” or “Don’t Text and Drive” finger-waving lecture. Driving programs across the nation tend to be one-dimensional and outdated, and attendants are often there only to check a box in terms of safety education.
SteerSmart is a unique approach that spends one hour discussing speed, seat belts, falling asleep behind the wheel, weather conditions and road trips. It delivers strong conversation around decision-making, the responsibility and risks of being a passenger, and the threat of other unsafe drivers on the road. The program walks through the anatomy of crashes and includes candid conversations and testimonials from survivors and their families.
With their straight-forward delivery, SteerSmart is able to accommodate colleges and high schools with multiple, conveniently scheduled sessions, and delivers the material in a way that young minds can absorb and students can receive.
SteerSmart has provided programs in 15 states and has held multiple sessions at the University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia.
How you can support the SteerSmart program?
The South has the weakest traffic laws in the country and, consequently, the highest fatality rates. But, we often think we’re invincible and immune to that type of tragedy. Getting the free program into schools should be easy, but Winborne admits that the bureaucracy involved is frustrating and disheartening.
While the expansion of autonomous driving– where technology and the motorist drive together to make a fundamentally safer trip– is on the horizon, we still need to find ways to protect drivers and reduce fatalities.
In the early 1980’s seat belts were part of an optional vehicle safety package and took a federal law to make their use mandatory. Collaboration between educators, technology companies, and the government on the need assessment, design, and implementation of new safety systems will bring about the most effective, worthwhile change.
For more information on the SteerSmart initiative, visit their website. If you want to support their mission, they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that keep going through your tax-deductible donations.
You can also help them gain access to your local schools by discussing SteerSmart with your city leaders, school administrators, teachers, parents and students, many of whom are unaware of the program or its availability.