Office of Highway Safety Unveils New Student Driver Safety Program


NEWS RELEASE:  For Immediate Release: Friday, April 1, 2016
For More Information: Contact Tony Mangan, Department of Public Safety, 773-6196

Office of Highway Safety Unveils New Student Driver Safety Program

PIERRE, S.D. – A new interactive web-based program, created by the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety, is designed to encourage young people to be safe drivers.

“Lesson Learned” was activated today (Friday). It features South Dakota high school students participating in demonstrations that show what happens when drivers are distracted, not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence.

“The videos are designed to help raise student awareness about driver safety through social media,” says Lee Axdahl, director of the state Office of Highway Safety. “We try to do that throughout the year, but we wanted to launch this safety campaign in April especially because the month has been designated as National Distracted Driver Awareness Month by the National Safety Council.”

South Dakota young drivers, between the ages of 14 and 19, who watch all three videos and answer the follow-up safety questions will be entered in a contest for a chance to win cash prizes up to $10,000 from the South Dakota Broadcasters Association. The eligible contestants must also have the permission of a parent or guardian as found in the official rules on the program’s website.

Filming for the series took place at Sully Buttes High School in Onida, Rapid City High School and Sioux Falls O’Gorman High School. Each segment deals with a different safety theme. Dozens of students from each school participated in the demonstrations, which were led by a program host.

Steve Willard, executive director of the South Dakota Broadcasters Association, says that group is happy to be part of this project. “I’ve seen the videos and they’re instructive and impactful. Kids have a way of communicating the truth. As far as the contest, we’d much rather be a part of teaching drivers to drive safely than covering some tragic crash story; particularly young drivers. Congratulations to the department for aggressively promoting the message.”

With warmer weather approaching, Axdahl says this is a good time for such a safety campaign aimed at students. “We are headed into the months where traffic crashes, and traffic fatalities, typically increase,” he says. “This is another way to encourage the young drivers to be careful, not get distracted, don’t drink and drive and wear their seatbelt.”

The videos can be found at:

The Office of Highway Safety is part of the South Department Public Safety.