04.05.11 – The American Public Health Association’s annual celebration of the National Public Health Week kicked off Tuesday in the nation’s capital with a briefing on Capital Hill to elected officials by a panel of speakers that included 16-year-old USF2000 racecar driver Zach Veach. Veach, a published author and activist, was the youngest member of the panel.
“This is a great opportunity to get in front of Congress and hopefully change the situations for other teenagers facing similar situations,” said Veach, who has also spoken in front of the Ohio House of Representatives to promote HB99, the state of Ohio’s Anti-Texting Law. “Bringing awareness to bullying prevention and the importance of safe driving is a program we can all work towards. I know what it’s like to be bullied and so I stand with those who have also suffered from this overwhelming concern facing today’s youth.”
The American Public Health Association has a vision of a healthy global society with prevention being an imperative component. With the 2011 theme, “Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-Free,” one of CNN’s “Intriguing People,” Veach was given a voice on a panel of four in Washington, D.C., while taking time away from his day job as a student turned racecar driver in INDYCAR’s “Mazda Road to Indy” developmental ladder system, an important open-wheel stepping stone to a career in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.
One of the nation’s youngest licensed racecar drivers, Veach pulled readings from his recently released new book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, while presenting to a group of elected officials and members of the national media. Veach focused his message primarily around bullying prevention and his work towards putting an end to distracted driving, for which he is the national spokesperson for FocusDriven.
In addition to Veach, Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director American Public Health Association provided an overview of National Public Health Week; Dr. Linda Degutis, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discussed the NCIPC priority areas and the importance of injury and violence prevention and; Tyler Presnell, a Washington state native, sustained serious injuries from a car crash at age 14. Now after 22 surgeries has become a national spokesperson for safe driving.
Veach will also participate in FocusDriven’s Distracted Driving Summit in Chicago, Ill., in conjunction with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and the Department of Transportation on Thursday April 21, 2011 as part of April’s “National Distracted Driving” awareness month.
Returning to the racetrack next month for the fifth round of the 2011 USF2000 National Championship at Lucas Oil Raceway, Veach sits third in Series points, with two pole positions and one race win already this season. Follow along in Veach’s journey as he documents his 2011 season for RACER Magazine at www.racer.com. For more on Veach, please visit www.ZachVeach.com, www.AndrettiAutosport.com or www.USF2000.com .