According to ODOT Safety Analysis, new numbers show young drivers are safer
“Lights for Life” safety messages help make Ohio roads safer
COLUMBUS (Friday, November 13, 2009) – Encouraged by a new safety analysis showing that young people in Ohio are driving safer this year, the Ohio Department of Transportation is joining the Ohio Department of Public Safety to encourage all drivers to keep their headlights on throughout the day on Monday to highlight highway safety.
The statewide “Lights for Life” effort is being spearheaded by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and is aimed at raising awareness of teen driver safety and the causes behind crashes involving young drivers.
On Monday, November 16, all motorists are encouraged to drive with their vehicle headlights illuminated - not only as a pledge to be a safe driver but also as a reminder to others of the importance of roadway safety.
An ODOT safety analysis shows that young drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 were involved in 39% of all crashed on Ohio’s roadways last year. In 2008, young drivers were behind the wheel in 124,210 crashes, resulting in 388 fatalities.
ODOT’s analysis also shows that the leading factors behind crashes involving young drivers are following too close, failure to yield, and excessive speed. Most crashes occur right after school, with the majority of accidents reported between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 pm.
Safety messages and increased awareness by young drivers are helping to make Ohio's roads safer. So far, the number of crashes for the first nine months of 2009 has been significantly down from last year. In the first seven months of this year, there were 65,493 crashes reported involving young drivers, down from more than 70,000 the same time period in 2008.
“It’s critical that teens get involved by taking our responsibility as drivers seriously and speaking up when our friends are making poor choices behind the wheel,” said Richard Birt, a student in Ohio and a national SADD student of the year. “That’s why Ohio’s SADD chapters are working together to unite our voices to save lives.”
As part of the campaign, Ohio SADD is hosting Ohio’s first Youth Traffic Safety Summit at the Statehouse on November 16. Approximately 300 students are expected to participate and meet with state legislators.
For more information, contact Paula Putnam, ODOT Communications, at (614) 728-8915 or your local ODOT District Communications Office.