The commission, administered through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, is the first in the nation to be composed exclusively of teens who will advise the governor and the state’s public safety officials on effective ways to communicate a safe driving message to the state’s teen drivers.
The ultimate goal of the Commission is to reduce the number of teen crashes, injuries and fatalities on Georgia highways. Vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death for teenagers in Georgia.
Brumlow and 21 others met for the first time at the Georgia State Capitol on Oct. 25.
“I have a lot of friends that get behind the wheel of the car that shouldn’t be doing what they are doing and I just want to try and get them to see what can really happen, it’s your life, they think they’re invincible and they are not,” said Brumlow of her involvement with the commission.
The Commission will help Gov. Deal develope a statewide strategy for educating teen drivers on the risks and consequences associated with driving while distracted and driving while impaired by alcohol.
At the capital, teens chosen from more than 10 congressional districts gathered at the capital. Events of the day included a presentation of trooper cars, as well as an experience of a field sobriety test, drunk drivers are given when pulled over, according to Brumlow.
Next, the teens sat through meetings showing statistics and photos of many of the main problems with teen drivers.
Afterwards, the teens were split up into three subcommittees, and Brumlow volunteered to serve as Secretary for the impaired driving group, she was placed in.
The subcommittees are responsible or corresponding via telephone once a month before reconvening together again in March to present their ideas before the Georgia General Assembly, House and Senate, according to Brumlow who explained the importance of actions of change coming from teens.
“We go back in March and meet with legislatures, general assembly, senate, and the governor, they’re going to put it into action, but we have to give them our ideas as teens because they don’t know how we feel about it,” said Brumlow. “They want to know how teens feel because adults, they don’t know.”
Brumlow believes that teenagers think they are invincible, and hopes to be able to protect her friends, by coming up with certain methods to keep the message clear to teens, to be smart while driving.
“We just basically decided that teens need the visual, they need it repeated because they have an emotional filter at first, but they need to hear it over and over because they forget after a while,” said Brumlow. “We have to figure that out because teens are going to drink, but we have to figure out how to keep them out of the car. We thought about doing lanyards, putting the messages on the back of the school parking passes when you get in the car. We talked about making it a requirement for teens to see the crashed car, things that happened in real life.”
Brumlow says she enjoyed her trip to the capital including learning about the history of the building, dating back to 1880.
“We are just trying to change teen drivers the best we can because no body wants to give up anybody, you’ve got to get that in teens heads that they are not invincible,” said Brumlow.
Brumlow will serve as secretary and will be responsible for recording the presentation given before the Georgia congress in Georgia.
“When it comes to reaching teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving or simply using a phone while operating a vehicle, we decided to go straight to the source,” said Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “We’re looking for answers from these young people on how we can reach their peers. They will tell us how to teach Georgia’s teenagers about highway safety in ways we haven’t thought of before -- and we plan to listen. “
A call for applications last month, encouraging all Georgia drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 to apply, drew more than 180 applicants.
Those chosen represent 19 different cities across the state and have already exhibited leadership qualities in their local communities. Commission members have also proven that they are in good standing academically and have clean driving records.
“This group of teenagers comprises some of Georgia’s best and brightest future leaders,” said Gov. Deal. “We are seeking out-of-the box solutions to reducing the teen crash rate in Georgia, and I am confident this commission is equipped to provide us with those answers.”