A prominent national safety organization founded by and for students has joined the Waymo-led public education initiative for autonomous vehicles, Let’s Talk Self-Driving.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) joins a group of national and state-based safety and mobility organizations with a mission to educate people about the potential autonomous vehicles hold to make roads safer and more accessible. The public education campaign, started in 2017 by self-driving technology company Waymo, works to build awareness, fuel conversations, and enhance understanding of the benefits of autonomous vehicles.
Founded by students in 1981 after a series of drunk-driving crashes, SADD was originally called Students Against Drunk Driving. The organization has since expanded to advocate around other personal health and safety issues such as mental health awareness, substance use awareness, and anti-bullying efforts.
SADD has a long record of advocacy, peer-to-peer empowerment, and student engagement. The organization is steered and advised by national and state leadership councils composed of teens. According to Bailey Bindle, communications coordinator for SADD, joining the Let’s Talk Self-Driving partnership was a natural decision for the organization.
“It makes total sense,” she said, adding that current teens will get to experience this technology firsthand when they get older. “This technology is the future. They are also the future. Why not start the education process now?”
Bindle said the partnership is an important way to help make sure teens are part of the conversation around the future.
“It’s about education and road safety and keeping teens involved with what the updates are, what’s new, what’s on the horizon,” she added.
SADD previously partnered with Waymo, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Let’s Talk Self-Driving to create a virtual self-guided curriculum for teens focused on teen driver safety, road safety, and autonomous vehicles. The curriculum is part of a joint effort to empower teens to become advocates for road safety.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, due to factors such as drunk, distracted, and inexperienced driving. In contrast, fully autonomous vehicles don’t drive drunk or get distracted. Waymo has built The World’s Most Experienced Driver™ with over 20 million public road miles experienced to date. Waymo’s autonomous driving system, called the Waymo Driver, monitors the environment 360 degrees around the vehicle and responds to objects up to 500 meters away. Its autonomous vehicle technology is also designed to see other road users, predict their next move and then make the safest driving decision.
Let’s Talk Self-Driving was established as a public education initiative led by Waymo in 2017. The mission of Let’s Talk Self-Driving is to bring together a diverse group of voices to the conversation around how autonomous vehicle technology may shape the future of mobility, safety, and society. Let’s Talk Self-Driving partners include driverless technology company Waymo, Governors Highway Safety Association, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, the PHX East Valley Partnership, Foundation for Blind Children, Foundation for Senior Living, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Safety Council, Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance, and Students Against Destructive Decisions.
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