South Dakota's Task Force on Teen Driving Safety will spend the next year reviewing statistics and laws affecting young drivers and preparing recommendations for the 2013 Legislature.
The task force, created by the last Legislature, met in Fort Pierre on Thursday, Dec. 15 to begin its assignment. The group is charged with:
- Examining data on teen driving, including statistics on traffic citations, crashes, injuries and fatalities.
- Reviewing current laws affecting teen drivers.
- Examining data on driver education available for teens.
- Reviewing national best practices to improve safety of young drivers
- Examining policies or practices that hinder efforts to improve teen-driving safety.
"Too many young drivers are involved in highway crashes that result in injuries or deaths in South Dakota,'' said Lee Axdahl, Director of the Office of Highway Safety in the state Department of Public Safety. "We need to get an accurate picture of the teen-driving experience in our state, and this task force will be a great way to explore the obstacles standing in the way of pushing those crash numbers down.''
The task force is funded by a federal highway-safety grant. The group is to provide recommendations for improving teen driver safety to the 2013 South Dakota Legislature. The meeting began at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the AmericInn Conference Center in Fort Pierre.
Task force members include:
Sen. Todd Schlekeway, R-Sioux Falls; Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City; Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron; Rep. Nick Moser, R-Yankton; Staci Eggert, executive director, South Dakota Sheriff's Association, Howard; John Foster, South Dakota Department of Transportation, Pierre; Cindy Gerber, South Dakota Driver Licensing Program, Pierre; Maj. Randy Hartley, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Pierre; Bob Clark, Bob Clark Insurance, Pierre; Mark Swendsen, Dakota Radio Group, Pierre; Susan Randall, South Dakota Voices for Children, Sioux Falls; Capt. Steve Haney, Sioux Falls Police Department; Chief Richard Greenwald, Oglala Sioux Tribe Highway Safety Division, Pine Ridge; Nancy Allard, Unified Judicial System, Pierre.