DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 20.
According to AAA,156 Ohio teens died in car accidents in 2015.
“When you hear of an accident, one of the first things we do is we wonder if it was a student we had. It does not really matter that much, but it is personal. When it does happen, it is pretty sad,” said AAA drivers-ed teacher and former law enforcement officer, Pat Brown.
Brown says two thirds of teen drivers involved in deadly car accidents were distracted.
“Driving has to come first. Even with your friends in the car. That includes mom and dad. Your focus needs to be driving first. Too many times it’s not not the main focus and that is the main problem,” said Brown.
AAA says the main cause of teen deaths while driving is related to distractions. Cell phones seem like the most obvious cause of accidents, but the leading cause is actually interactions with a passenger.
Under Ohio Law, provisional drivers must log 50 hours of supervised driving. 10 must be at night during their first six months behind the wheel, and they must also have 24 hours of classroom instruction.
“Graduated driver licensing is generally meant to spread out the licensing process,” said Sharon Fife of D&D driving school.
Fife and her family have been teaching generations of drivers for thirty years.
She believes stronger graduated driver licensing laws better protect teens and everyone on the road.
“It has lowered the amount of teenage deaths, that’s been the biggest improvement to lower teenage crashes,” said Fife.
Both Fife and Brown encourage parents to set good examples of how to behave behind the wheel.
2 News also learned that nationally more drivers are coming into drivers-ed classes at the age of 18, not 16.