Nick McWilliams reporting – A total of 38 students from seven school districts competed in the 2023 Safe Communities Teen Driver Roadeo.
Aimed at promoting safe driving techniques for young drivers, students tested their skills on Thursday with a written test, and driving events including serpentine maneuvering, parallel parking, and backwards driving.
Participating districts were New Philadelphia, Dover, Buckeye Career Center, Indian Valley, Garaway, Newcomerstown, and Tuscarawas Central Catholic.
The school that won the team trophy was Dover, based off the total points earned by each student. First place in the written test was Macie McMillen from New Phila, who received $300, and Ben Hamm from Dover earned first in driving skills, also for $300.
During speaker presentations, Tuscarawas County Coroner Cathy Clarke presented a slideshow depicting the cost of driving irresponsibly, including fines, court costs, and rising insurance rates, but asked for students to consider a poor choice that could lead to family members being told a loved one wasn’t coming home.
She added that all the campaigns and safe driving initiatives will not make a difference unless drivers make the conscious choice to be responsible.
“It lies on you when you get into that vehicle, into that driver’s seat, no matter what mom and dad are saying beside you, what grandma and grandpa are saying behind you, or your friends are saying behind you in the backseat. You’re the driver. You’re the ones who are responsible, and ultimately, have to make those decisions, and pay that price.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant William Bower discussed the current 100 Deadliest Days, the period which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, which sees the most fatal crashes for teen drivers.
New Philadelphia Post Commander Lieutenant Laura Taylor asked for all drivers to take away some form of information for safe driving following the event, reminding all of Ohio’s new distracted driving law that targets cellphone usage, and the current law for those under 18.
“Just know that if we’re driving along, and we see you doing anything with your phone, we can pull you over for that and cite you for that. And that’s probably, I believe, and automatic license suspension for youthful drivers.”
All drivers are reminded to never drive groggy or under the influence, always maintain acceptable speeds, and keep phones and distractions out of view.
For more on statistics and safe driving tips, visit www.tchdnow.org/safe-communities.
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