Parachute and State Farm are driving change to help teens drive safely

Project Gearshift aims to increase awareness around the number one cause of death amongst Canadian teenagers

TORONTO, May 22, 2014 /CNW/ - In an effort to educate teens about distracted, aggressive and impaired driving, as well as reduce the number of motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities among young Canadians, Parachute and partner State Farm launched Project Gearshift today.

Now in its second year, Parachute's Project Gear Shift is a national awareness campaign designed to positively change the driving habits of Canadian teenagers, between the ages of 16 –19, who continue to remain at a higher risk of death per kilometre than all other age groups. Only about 13% of licensed drivers in Canada are 16-24 years old, yet 24% of fatalities and 26% of serious injuries on the road tend to be attributed to this young age group.

"With 24% of all vehicle accidents amongst teens resulting in fatalities, we need to take action help make our roads safer for all drivers," says Louise Logan, Parachute's President and CEO. "Education, knowledge and empowerment are key.  By partnering with State Farm, we're equipping Canadian teens with critical resources to keep them safe behind the wheel."

Throughout the course of the year, organizers will be raising awareness of teen driver safety issues in Canada, empowering people to discuss and share driver safety issues in their communities and inspiring teens and adult drivers to change their behavior around driving safely as well as being aware of the tragic impact and effects distractive driving can have.  

"What makes teen driver fatalities so tragic is that the vast majority of them are completely preventable," says John Bordignon, Media Relations State Farm Canada. "Two of our core philosophies are education and safety awareness, by supporting the work Parachute is doing to formally establish a National Teen Driver Safety Week in Canada we are addressing these values and helping to save the lives of teens across the country."

Parachute and State Farm have created an interactive program with many components, including Project Gearshift Teen Ambassadors, Parachute Engagement Community Sessions and a website, projectgearshift.ca, that offers teen drivers safety resources which all lead up to National Teen Driver Safety Week, taking place from October 19 – 25, 2014. Parachute and State Farm have also developed resources materials of interest to parents, community organizations, and other interested individuals, available on its website parachutecanada.org/projectgearshift.

About State Farm
State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm is a Fortune 100 company and is the leading Property and Casualty insurer in North America with more than 80 Million policyholders. State Farm has more than 500 Canadian agents and 1700 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/statefarmcanada, or see us on YouTube www.youtube.com/statefarm.

About Parachute
Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. A national charity, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada joined together to become one leader in injury prevention. Parachute's injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Parachute's vision is an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest. For information, visit us at parachutecanada.org, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

SOURCE: Parachute

For further information: George James, Parachute, 416 402-3783 (c), gjames@parachutecanada.org; John Bordignon, State Farm Canada, 905.750.5567 (w), 416.801.6078 (c), john.bordignon.pgr8@statefarm.com


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