Ohio Teens Driving Better Than Most

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, The National Safety Council says Ohio has the 12th least number of fatal car crashes involving teenage drivers. While this is encouraging, especially for parents of teenagers, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Fred Stratmann, said there is still work to be done.

“At the same time we recognize and celebrate the reports like this that show that we have made substantial progress, the fact remains that too many teen drivers are still getting into accidents. And we attribute that to inexperience and distractions,”Stratmann said.

Spokesperson for the Ohio Insurance Institute, Mary Bonelli, agreed. Bonelli said while teenagers make up only seven percent of drivers they have the highest crash rates. She said it is very important for teens to be able to focus on driving and should limit the number of people in the car with them.

“It is very, very important to eliminate all distractions or as many of those distractions as possible. And it’s found that the more passengers that a teenager has in the car, the higher the chances are of being distracted and the possibility of being in a crash,” Bonelli said.

Bonelli said the state’s current graduated driver’s license has somewhat reduce the number of crashes and fatalities among teen drivers. Currently, a teenager must be 15-and-a-half years old to be able to test for a permit. New legislation before the General Assembly would increase the age to 16. It would also limit the number of passengers a teen could have in the car and restrict late night driving.

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