GUYMON, Okla. (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced being the first state to set a law that requires teen drivers to complete a work zone safety and first responder safety course for teen drivers.
According to an Oklahoma Department of Transportation press release, the law will go into effect on Nov. 1 that will require teen drivers to complete an online education course before applying for their intermediate driver’s license.
Officials detailed that car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for U.S. teenagers, so drivers should understand the importance of driving safely inside work zones and moving over and slowing down for first responders.
According to ODOT, in Oklahoma 91 motorists, 10 of them young kids, were killed in work zone crashes on state highways and turnpikes, and there were 102 drivers under the age of 20 severely injured in work zone crashes all in the past five years.
“We want teenagers who are learning to drive to have the added benefit of work zone safety education before they ever encounter one for the first time behind the wheel of a vehicle,” said Tim Gatz, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation. “Work zones require all drivers to be very focused by putting away all distractions to ensure that they, other motorists, and our workers all stay safe. We’re proud to see Oklahoma taking the lead and the needed steps to do more to educate and engage drivers about being safe in work zones and how to safely share the road with first responders. We also want to thank the Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt for their support of this important safety program.”
The program aims to teach drivers ages 15-19 about work zones, and first responder safety and introduces them to the faces behind the flag and flashing lights according to ODOT.
The release said ODOT and OTA have lost 72 employees combined in the line of duty in their history.
“We have filled our roads with ‘digitally drunk’ drivers,” said Robins. “This program is designed to teach young drivers how their driving can impact themselves and others forever.”
Officials added teens who complete the program will be entered to win a $500 educational scholarship and qualify for a safer driver insurance discount.
For more information regarding the driver’s license program visit the ODOT website.