WINTERSVILLE - Teen drivers remain Ohio's most at-risk group when it comes to being involved in a traffic crash, so the Ohio State Highway Patrol partnered with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to reinforce teen driver responsibility and making proper decisions on the road.
The program was created to educate Ohio high school students and student-athletes about the dangers new drivers face, as well as the importance of decision making and reminding students they are in control when behind the wheel. This new program provides the patrol the opportunity to address a variety of teen traffic safety issues, including speed, underage drinking and driving, inattention, safety belts and teen driving laws.
Lt. Christopher Johnson, patrol Steubenville post commander, said the program stresses teen drivers are in control when they are behind the wheel.
TEEN DRIVING — The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio High School Athletic Association launched an initiative to educate teenage drivers about responsibility, awareness and safety when behind the wheel. Indian Creek High School multimedia club students are preparing video testimonials from student drivers that will be posted on a patrol Fabebook page. Kicking off the program are, from left, Lt. Charles Johnson, patrol Steubenville post commander; multimedia club members Cheyenne Cummings, Megan Markja, Zoe Weaver, Ashley Martin, Brooke Piergallini, Brey Mays, Isaac Foldi, Brandon Galownia, Landon Woods and Patrol Sgt. Shawn Yoho. - Mark Law
"It stresses the importance of decision making. Every decision they make can affect the rest of their lives," said Patrol Sgt. Shawn Yoho.
As part of this program, participating high schools will be given safety materials, such as posters, messages for morning and game-time announcements, banners and a large stencil of the program's logo for use in and around school property.
The patrol also plans to connect to Ohio teens though the use of a "You Are In Control" Facebook page. The page also will be used to encourage peer-to-peer participation and engagement. Teens are asked to visit www.facebook.com/teendriversareincontrol and tell their stories regarding teen driver safety.
The Indian Creek High School multimedia club will film students about their driving experiences and they will be posted on the Facebook page.
In 2011, 161 young adult drivers between the ages of 16-20 were involved in fatal traffic crashes on Ohio's roadways, the patrol reported. This is compared to 160 fatal crashes in 2010 and 177 in 2009.
In Ohio, it is illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone or to text. It is a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can pull a teen driver over just for that charge. Ohio juveniles face a $150 fine and a 60-day license suspension.