Since January, the parents of four area teens got phone calls that are every parent's worst nightmare - they learned their son or daughter had been killed in an automobile accident.
Three Oak Glen High School students lost their lives in an accident on state Route 8 on Jan. 18. Also, a teenage girl was killed in an accident in Harrison County on Monday.
All four were 16 years old and had a whole life in front of them. Fellow students of the victims mourned the deaths, along with friends and family. The drivers of the vehicles made a mistake behind the wheel.
Drivers make bad choices on the road every day. Sometimes they result in a crash.
The Hancock County Sheriff's Department reported the investigation into the January fatal collision showed the driver of the vehicle with the Oak Glen students made a decision to pass another car in a no-passing zone, was driving at a high rate of speed and was unable to take corrective action. The vehicle collided with a New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department truck responding to a chimney fire.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported speed was a factor in Monday's accident that took the life of the Cadiz teen and seriously injured another teenager.
Teenage drivers have always been a worry to parents. Parents lecture their children about driving safe and the consequences of making bad decisions on the road. But there are too many distractions for teen drivers, especially with other children in the car.
Parents need to make sure teen drivers are well educated about the dangers of being on the road. Cell phones and texting are obvious points of discussion. Keeping eyes on the road is another. Parents also have to talk to their children about the responsibility of being a passenger. Distracting the driver can have bad consequences.
Teens passengers can't pressure drivers to go faster or pass a vehicle. The responsibility of being a driver with passengers is great, no matter the age, but teens are inexperienced as drivers and may not see the dangers lurking around them that older drivers may detect.
Everyone has a responsibility to educate teen drivers and make sure they get experience behind the wheel that will lead to a lifetime of safe driving.
The tragedies that took the lives of four teens in the first three months of this year affected many people. But it can be a life lesson to all teen drivers that safety on the roads is important every time they get behind the wheel.