New ODOT Study finds Car Crashes by Teen Drivers Down in 2010

Friday’s Lights for Life encourages Ohioans to drive with headlights on all day

COLUMBUS (Thursday, December 9, 2010)On the eve of Ohio’s Lights for Life - a day when drivers across the state are encouraged to turn on their headlights to promote roadway safety - a new safety analysis by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) reveals 2010 has been a safer year for the state’s teen drivers.

In the first nine months of this year, young drivers between the ages of 15 to 25 were involved in 106,420 crashes. That’s down by about 4,100 crashes from the first nine months of 2009 - a 3 percent decline - or about 14 fewer accidents each day since the beginning of the year.

The leading factors behind crashes involving young drivers are following too close, failing to yield to other traffic and driving too fast.

The ODOT safety analysis also shows that most crashes occur right after school, with the majority of accidents reported between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

For the second year in a row, ODOT is partnering with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) on the Lights for Life Day. Ohioans are encouraged to drive with their vehicle headlights illuminated during the day - as a pledge to be a safe driver and a reminder to others of the importance of roadway safety.

Over the past year, ODOT has promoted several safe driving messages targeted to younger drivers, including efforts to convince teens to “Look Up, Hang Up, and Go Slow in the Cone Zone” - an effort to decrease the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.

The effort is needed: in 2009, drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 were involved in 51 percent of all crashes on Ohio’s roadways - up from 39 percent in 2008.

Last year, young drivers accounted for 151,545 crashes and 402 fatalities.

For more information and safe driving tips for teenagers, go to: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Services/Pages/SlowfortheConeZone