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For Immediate Release
May 6, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky

Secretary Gwadosky to Take Part in Community Conversation
Presentation and Panel Discussion Regarding Safety Issues Faced by Young Drivers

Wednesday, May 8, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
Williamson Center, Lawrence High School

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will take part in a Community Conversation at Lawrence High School's Williamson Center on Wednesday, May 8, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. The topic of Secretary Gwadosky's presentation and the subsequent panel discussion will be Maine's Newest Drivers at Risk. Edward Finch, SAD 49 School Board Chairman will moderate the panel that will include Lawrence High School students and parents, as well as representatives of the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield Fire and Rescue Department.

Motor Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people age 16 to 24 in Maine and the nation. On average, one young person is killed on Maine's roadways every ten days. These are staggering and tragic statistics that require the attention of families and communities. This Community Conversation will focus on the issues surrounding young drivers and panel members will provide information and insight from various perspectives regarding Maine's newest drivers.

The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion.

Over the past several years, the Secretary Gwadosky has sought to involve parents in their teenager's driver education and has encouraged parents and teens to communicate with each other about the responsibilities of driving. Requiring 35 hours of driving time with an adult (preferably a parent) before requesting a road test and developing a Young Driver Parent/Guardian Driving Contract that helps open up the lines of communication are just a couple of initiatives that have sought to focus families on these issues.

Unfortunately, recent crashes across the state involving young people have made it easier for families to communicate on this issue. Secretary Gwadosky's presentation will stress that communication must continue through all possible means, as no single factor alone will be successful in relaying the importance of safe driving habits. Community discussions can play an important part in focusing teens and their families on this very serious problem.

For assistance in opening the dialog, parents may obtain a copy of the Young Driver Parent/Guardian Driving Contract at