Vehicular crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, approximately three (3) out of five (5) fortuitous deaths for teenagers and young adults ages 15-24, are due to motor vehicle accidents. Youth in the Detroit area are challenged in that fewer than half are licensed within one year of reaching their state's minimum age for licensure, and a little more than half acquire licensure before turning 18 years of age. This disadvantage caters to a higher crash risk rate among Detroit youth. With the high expenses associated with driver's training courses, large social and economic disparities have been identified among Black and Hispanic youth, and those residing in low-income households. As a result, many youth are opting to avoid completing the driving preparation courses and instead delay the acquisition of a Graduated Driver's License (GDL) until 18 years of age. This trend leads to an increase in crash risk as these youth are not adequately equipped with driving practice otherwise acquired during training courses.
In response to these alarming statistics, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies throughout Michigan, the T. Wall Foundation, and All-Star Driving School to afford Graduated Driver Licensing courses for at-risk youth. The goal of the partnership is to reduce the crash risk associated with young drivers by exposing them to courses that require a minimum number of preparation hours. These extensive courses have shown to significantly reduce traffic fatalities for young drivers.
As part of this exciting partnership p, 17 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit youth will be awarded All-Star Driving course scholarships courtesy of the T. Wall Foundation. Agency mentors ("Bigs') have committed to partnering with their mentees ("Littles") and their families, to ensure that they complete the required practice hours; better preparing them to be safe and cognizant, on-road drivers.