The week of Oct. 21-27 is designated as National Teen Driver Safety Week and members of the SAFE Teen Driver Safety Task Force are using the week to bring awareness to an increasingly tragic subject.
“Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations,” said Jackie Bain, SAFE coordinator and community health specialist for the Delaware General Health District.
Stacy Schlotterbeck is chair of the Delaware County Teen Driver Safety Task Force and wants parents to become more informed about the state’s Graduated Licensing Law, which is designed to limit high risk driving situations for teen drivers and to increase adult supervision.
Schlotterbeck, who lost her son Gavin and his girlfriend Hunter McClelland in a tragic crash in July 2017, wants parents to become more engaged and educated.
“We all need to be better educated and more engaged with our teens, because the majority of their learning experiences will take place with us, not with their driving instructors,” said Schlotterbeck.
In Delaware County in 2017:
• 31 percent of all fatal car crashes and 40 percent of all serious injury car crashes involved young drivers.
• Young drivers represented over 5 percent of licensed drivers yet were involved in 29 percent of the crashes that occurred in Delaware County.
• The Delaware County Juvenile Court handled 972 juvenile traffic cases with 41 percent resulting in speeding violations and 17 percent due to not providing assured clear distance.
Starting in November, the Health District along with members of the task force will be conducting a survey of parents of teen drivers in an effort to better understand their opinions on how to keep teens safe on the roadways. The survey results will help develop strategies to reduce the leading cause of death among young drivers in Delaware County.
In recognition of the week, members of the task force today attended the Delaware County Board of Commissioners session as they proclaimed Oct. 21-27 as Teen Driver Safety Week in Delaware County.
In addition, SAFE along State Farm Insurance sponsored a billboard design contest in honor of Teen Driver Safety Week for area high school students. The winning design came from Cianna Petrae, 16, of Olentangy Orange High School. The new design will be located on the billboard on Central Avenue in Delaware. Petrae was also awarded a $500 Amazon gift card along with a voucher to attend Better Ohio Teen Drivers, Inc.
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