COLUMBUS — Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that eight juvenile courts will be providing more access to advanced driver training for juvenile traffic offenders and other young drivers. The behind-the-wheel training will provide hands-on experience in an effort to improve driving skills and reduce at-fault youthful fatal car crashes.

Juvenile courts in Adams, Athens, Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Medina, Miami, and Pickaway counties have each been awarded $20,000 to work with advanced driver training programs to increase the number of young drivers given the opportunity to participate in this type of training. Athens County will also be collaborating with surrounding counties to provide access to the program in the rural communities of southwest Ohio.

“When I became Governor, I pledged to focus on traffic safety to save lives,” said Governor DeWine. “Through this collaboration, courts in these counties will be able to help more young drivers improve their driving skills to prevent future crashes.”

The advanced driving programs that will be participating in this project are Drive Team (Summit County), Mid-Ohio Sports Course (Knox County), Professional Driving Systems (Montgomery County), Take Control (Medina County), and National Trail Raceway (Licking County). National Trail Raceway is also developing a mobile program to provide greater access in rural areas of the state.

“Too many young people are seriously injured or killed while driving,” said Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David A. Hejmanowski. “We know that lack of experience and lack of training are the two major causes. Projects like this seek to address those shortcomings and make driving safer for our kids.”

The funding was made available through the Youthful Driver Safety Fund established in the biennium budget and will be administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

This announcement follows a number of Governor DeWine’s traffic safety initiatives, including investments in improving the physical safety of Ohio roads, the development of the Ohio – Ready, Test, Drive! Program, , the creation of several distracted driving safety corridors in Ohio, the introduction of the HandsFreeOhio bill, and the establishment of the new Ohio Traffic Safety Council to coordinate and monitor all statewide traffic safety initiatives, analyze trends, and develop new traffic safety initiatives.

Staff report