Young drivers are most at risk

Young drivers are most at risk

According to a report re- leased earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal car crashes involving 16- and 17-year-olds in Ohio were higher during the first six months of 2012 than during the first six months of 2011. This is disconcerting. Crashes already are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. These new findings underscore the need to better protect our youngest, most vulnerable drivers.

Ohio lawmakers recently took an important step toward making our roads safer with the passage of a texting ban. Strengthening our state’s teen driving laws should be their next priority. Currently, teen drivers can carry one passenger and are permitted to drive unsupervised until midnight. Both laws must change. Teen passengers, including siblings, can increase teen drivers’ crash risk by as much as 307 percent, and driving at night is particularly dangerous for teens. Ohio needs to become one of the 17 states that experienced a decline in fatal teen crashes, according to GHSA. Stronger laws will help us achieve that goal.

I lead the Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition, an initiative of The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council. I encourage teens, parents, traffic safety professionals and others passionate about this issue to join us and help educate the public about the importance of strong teen driving laws. By working together, we can reduce these fatalities in 2013 and help to ensure our roads are safer for all motorists.

Debbie O’Malley, Seven Hills

The writer works with the National Safety Council as the leader of the Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition.

Gun laws don’t stop violence

I’d like to applaud Sen. Rob Portman for standing up for Americans’ constitutional rights during the recent gun control debate. I think most people agree that we’ve got to do something about violence, whether it’s mass shootings like we saw in Colorado and Connecticut, or the violence that we see every day in cities like Cleveland. Passing more laws to restrict law-abiding citizens’ rights wouldn’t stop any of that. I am glad that we have a senator who stands up for what he believes and what the people of Ohio hold dear.

John James Brown. Warren