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Teen safety program in the works

SOUTH POINT – The Ohio State Highway Patrol recently unveiled a new program aimed at keeping teenage drivers save while on the road.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

SOUTH POINT – The Ohio State Highway Patrol recently unveiled a new program aimed at keeping teenage drivers save while on the road.

The goal of the Partners for Safety teen safe driving program, Lt. Carl Roark of the OSHP Ironton Post said, is to proactively educate teen drivers and increase seat belt usage.

Statistically, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),15 percent of all the drivers involved in traffic fatalities in 1999 were between the ages of 15 and 20, although they account for less than seven percent of all licensed drivers.

Roark believes the new interactive program will make an impact on teen drivers and reduce teen fatalities.

"Troopers will be visiting our local high schools to impress upon teens the importance of safe driving, buckling up, and to discourage impaired driving. Teen drivers are at a much higher risk of accidents and fatalities, but are often unaware of how vulnerable they are behind the wheel," Roark said.

He added that impaired driving is a serious problem for teen drivers. Of all 15 to 20 year old drivers killed in traffic accidents in 1999, more than 20 percent were intoxicated.

But students won’t have to take the trooper’s word on how alcohol actually affects vision and reaction times. Troopers will use Fatal Vision Goggles during their presentation to allow teens to experience simulated impairment.

The goggles simulate impaired vision at .08 percent in the daytime and .14 percent at night.

Several promotion items will be given to teens to encourage their participation in the Partners for Safety teen effort. The items include membership cards, license plate brackets, keychains, ice scrapers, registration and insurance card holders, and a Protect Yourself flyer on teen driving.

Other groups are chipping in with the effort. The Ohio State University football program partnered with the Patrol on a poster to reduce drinking and driving.

The poster reads, "Help Us Tackle Drinking and Driving," and will also be distributed to teen drivers.