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‘Be more aware of your surroundings;’ OSHP offers educational program for young drivers

SPRINGFIELD — There have been nearly 4,000 crashes involving young drivers across Montgomery, Miami, Greene, and Clark Counties.

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Distractions are one of the biggest issues with young drivers, so putting your phone up for directions or away in a bag is the best way to eliminate them.

“It doesn’t do us elderly people any justice, in fact, it kind of scares me when people pass you on the brim of the road on the right side,” Springfield resident Joseph Sodders said.

Sodders is scared on the road, but the Ohio State Highway Patrol is trying to further educate younger drivers.

OSHP is hosting an educational program called Drive to Live, which is focused on bettering drivers from ages 15 to 24.

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“We go out and we talk to them, we do a lot of speaking engagements. We try to spread that education and awareness before we have to put them on the side of the road or handle an investigative crash that they’ve been involved in,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Tyler Ross said.

News Center 7 received a press release showing young people in Clark, Greene, Montgomery, and Miami Counties have been in more than 13,000 crashes since 2022, meaning they are at fault for 29% of the accidents in those counties.

Driving Instructor Tim Hayes suggests young drivers do some people-watching and see what other drivers in nearby cars are doing because those are the distracted drivers people are dealing with on the road.

“The big thing when it comes to driving is to let your teenagers drive as much as possible. Sometimes it’s scary to let a teenager get behind the wheel. But start off in an empty parking lot,” Hayes said.

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Sodders also gave a word of advice for young drivers so accidents can be prevented, and other drivers can feel safe.

“My suggestion to younger people is to slow down and be more aware of your surroundings when you’re driving and stay off the phone,” Sodders said.

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