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Ohio Safety Head Tells High School Distracted Driving Takes Lives

Police and Safety agencies today (Tuesday) took their distracted driving message to a Franklin County High School. At Hamilton Township High School, the state's top safety official had a direct message for students in the audience. "The under-20 age category had the greatest proportion of distracted drivers." says state Public Safety Director John Born. He adds that during the last two years, teen drivers were involved in 144,000 traffic crashes resulting in 299 fatalities. Students Natalia Welton-Torres and Kaitlynn Yost were surprised by the figures. "No, I didn't know it was this bad. I was really shocked when I learned that stuff," says Yost. " I didn't think it had that much of an impact," says Welton-Torres. Spokeswoman Kelly Browning of the group "Impact Teen Drivers" says reckless and distracted driving killed three busloads of Ohio teens or 131 young people in 2011. Her group offers safety instructions to U-S high schools but she says the most effective safe driving message comes from a parent. "I always say to parents if you're slugging back the latte talking on your phone and driving with a knee don't be wonder why your kids are going to do that. So its really about them being the number one role model for their teens' driving attitudes and behaviors," says Browning. The Ohio Highway patrol says Franklin County had the second most accidents involving teen-aged drivers so far this year. The patrol counts more than 85-hundred accidents where teen drivers were at fault.