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May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month, a month focused on increasing awareness about youth traffic safety and refocusing efforts to keep our youth safe on the roadways. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for youth in the U.S. Every year more than 5,000 youth die in traffic-related crashes across the country. In Wisconsin, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than any other age group. Many of these crashes are caused by avoidable behavior and can be prevented. Sadly enough, for the majority of teens killed in traffic crashes, it was their first and last crash. Youth drivers make many judgment errors, take risks due to inexperience and peer pressure and fail to wear safety belts on a regular basis.
While the youth are disproportionately killed in crashes, there are a number of specific actions that young people can take to be safer on our roads, including:
At the Wisconsin Department of Justice, through the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) program, we are working to promote awareness and training in the investigation and prosecution of vehicular crimes. In September, the Department of Justice will sponsor a two and a half day training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors devoted entirely to the investigation and prosecution of vehicular cases.
The Department of Justice also provides regular technical assistance to local district attorneys offices and law enforcement officers to help them investigate and successfully prosecute vehicular crimes.