Honest admissions about distracted driving habits from Indian Lake High School students in 2017 helped pave the way for a new roadway safety campaign in Ohio.
AAA Ohio Auto Club performed vehicle inspections in the student parking lot at ILHS during lunch time April 30, after a safe driving assembly in the morning.
Traffic Safety Program Manager Kellie O’Riordan says during last year’s vehicle inspections at ILHS, she asked students what they struggle with behind the wheel. She says their answers went beyond texting and driving.
“Of course they get nervous at first, like they’re going to get judged or something, but then they egg each other on, like ‘Hey man, you always go too fast’ or ‘You’re constantly looking at yourself in the mirror to put your make-up on.’
O’Riordan says students talked honestly about speeding, drowsy driving, using snapchat, posting pictures, being distracted by passengers and more.
These frank statements, she says, helped her create this year’s Ohio AAA Auto Club safety campaign called “Slow Down!, Speak Up!, Stay Alert!” Students got to take the AAA Safe Driving Pledge and sign the campaign banner with the slogan they helped inspire.
The campaign is being rolled out in AAA’s 38 counties. O’Riordan also presented the campaign at the recent AAA national traffic safety meeting and hopes the idea becomes a nation wide AAA initiative.
She points out that reckless and distracted driving is the number one killer of teens in the United States.
Meantime, auto club inspectors performed vehicle maintenance inspections on student vehicles for safety hazards like tire pressure, fluids, and more. They say burned out brake lights and license plate lights are the most common problems. Students also received packets with safe driving information and tips.
During the assembly, O’Riordan also updated students on legislation that could impact how late they are able to drive.
75 percent of crashes involving young people happen between the hours of 9 pm and midnight. O’Riordan says House Bill 293 would set 10 pm restriction on new drivers and require additional time for permitted drivers to learn in all types of weather conditions. Exemptions would still exist for teen drivers coming to and from work, school, sporting or church events.
It’s just nighttime protection, to really look at that 9 to midnight crash data and try to protect teens more.”
She also encouraged the teens to speak to their parents about concerns if the feel their parents are driving distracted or making other poor decisions on the road.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.