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For Immediate Release
January 9, 2003
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky

Secretary Gwadosky to Discuss Safety Initiatives
for Young Drivers with High School Students
6 High Schools to Participate in Interactive Forum with the Secretary of State

Friday, January 10, 2003 at 9:45 a.m.
Maranacook Community High School
2250 Millard Harrison Drive, Readfield

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be meeting with students from several high schools to discuss proposals and new initiatives that his office is considering for Maine's Newest Drivers. Maranacook Community High School will be hosting Secretary Gwadosky for the forum at 9:45 a.m. and have invited an additional six high schools to participate in the discussion via the school's ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode). This system will allow other schools to participate in the forum through an interactive audio-visual process. Schools participating in the interactive forum include Maranacook, Foxcroft Academy, Erskine Academy and Hall-Dale High School. Additionally, Mountain Valley High School and Lewiston High School will be receiving the broadcast at their schools. After a brief presentation, students at any of the locations will be able to communicate comments and questions to Secretary Gwadosky, either through the interactive process or by phone.

Secretary Gwadosky is seeking to obtain insight from various individuals and groups concerned with the safety of young drivers as his department contemplates additional legislative initiatives in this area. He recently addressed the Legislative Youth Advisory Council and the Maine Association of Driver Education (MEDEA) seeking input on this topic. Troubled by 2002's increase in fatalities of 16 to 24 year olds (55 in 2002, an increase from 39 fatalities in 2001 and 41 in 2000), Secretary Gwadosky is committed to working with the Maine Legislature to consider further legislative action.

Over the past several years, the Department of the Secretary of State has sought to involve parents in their teenager's driving education and have encouraged parents and teens to communicate with each other about the responsibilities of driving. Secretary Gwadosky developed legislation for some of the most sweeping changes in driver education, licensing and testing in the last 40 years. Those changes included requiring 35 hours of driving time with an adult (preferably a parent) before requesting a road test, increasing the provisional license period from one year to two years, and increasing the suspension period for moving violations during the two year provisional period.

Secretary Gwadosky also developed a Young Driver Contract that is available to help families open up the lines of communication regarding these important issues. A copy of the Young Driver Contract is available at