Do you know an individual or an organization that has worked tirelessly to promote the proven principles of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License program?  If you do, now’s the time to nominate them for a 2013 GDL Champion award.

Developed by the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition (sponsored by The Allstate Foundation in partnership with the National Safety Council), the annual award program recognizes those who have advocated for New Jersey’s three-step, novice driver licensing system.  Designed to ensure teens survive their most dangerous driving years, the GDL helps them gain experience and build the skills necessary to become good drivers for life. 

According to coalition leader Pam Fischer, the number one cause of death for teens is car crashes.  In New Jersey in 2012, 20 teens drivers and 10 teens passengers (driven by their peers) lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes. 

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“Mile for mile teens between the ages of 16 and 20 are involved in three times as many fatal car crashes as all other drivers,” Fischer explained. “Distracted driving caused by multiple passengers, cell phone use and texting, as well as not buckling up, speeding, and driving at night all create potentially deadly situations for teen drivers.  Graduated driver licensing is a proven tool in reducing teen crash risk; since New Jersey’s GDL program took effective in 2001, teen driving deaths have fallen by more than 50 percent.”

Fischer noted that the awards program provides a unique opportunity for those who have educated, enforced and/or advocated for GDL to be recognized for their efforts to help save lives.  Since the program’s inception in 2011, nearly two dozen individuals and organizations, including members of the New Jersey Legislature, have been honored.  Past award recipients can be viewed at

“GDL Champions are parents, teens, teachers, business men and women, driving school instructors, safety advocates, reporters, elected officials, and police officers,” Fischer added.  “Anyone who has contributed his or her time, talent and energy to help enact, implement and/or promote NJ’s GDL program is eligible for nomination.”

Application forms are available online at and must be submitted by April 1, 2013.  The winners will be announced in May during National Youth Traffic Safety Month.