Social Media Campaign Targets Young Drivers

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The Ohio State Highway Patrol is collaborating with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to educate teen drivers about decision making behind the wheel. 

With school back in session and well under way, more young drivers are back on the road. The state highway patrol and the Ohio High School Athletic Association are working together to promote their new program that uses social media to reach out to these teen drivers. 
"The 'You Are In Control Program' is a public awareness campaign. It's targeted toward youthful drivers. And we call youthful drivers anyone between the ages of 16 and 20," said Lt. George Harlow, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The state highway patrol says nearly 500 fatal crashes have happened on Ohio's roadways over the past three years, thanks to distractions like texting and driving under the influence.
"We had a student here, probably five or six years ago, top of the class, was on her cell phone, evidently dropped it, reached down to get it, went left-of-center, and it killed two people," said Mike Meek, principal at Athens High School.
By hanging posters throughout area schools and through a Facebook page, the Highway Patrol and High School Athletic Association are urging students to slow down and keep their eyes on the road. Meek says social media is one of the best ways to reach out to teen drivers. 
"If I did an announcement over the P.A. 50 percent of the student body would hear it. But if it goes on websites and through Facebook and different things, it goes up to 95 percent or better," said Meek.
By teaming up with the OHSAA, the highway patrol is also hoping to connect with this young demographic at high school sporting events. 
"There tends to be a concentration of folks that age at those events so that's where we're really going to try to drive the message home," explained Harlow.
Teen drivers in Ohio face the largest risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident. 
More than 150 young adult drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2011 alone.