COLUMBUS—A State Farm Insurance grant of $13,400 has been awarded to the Ohio 4-H CARTEENS program to address teen driver safety and, specifically, drugged driving.
While distracted, drunk and buzzed driving have been focal points in the CARTEENS curriculum for many years, State Farm noted that drugged driving has become more problematic due largely to increased opioid addiction.
CARTEENS, which is taught by 4-H teen leaders and their advisors in 57 Ohio counties, works to reduce the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders, decrease the number of teen traffic offenders and increase teen awareness of traffic safety. 4-H youth development programs are part of Ohio State University Extension.
“OSU Extension is thrilled to work with State Farm to enhance the impact of our CARTEENS program in communities throughout Ohio,” said Roger Rennekamp, director of OSU Extension and associate dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “Drugged driving is unfortunately becoming a major issue, and it’s important that our teens involved with CARTEENS help their peers understand the dangers of unsafe driving practices.”
State Farm funding will be used to purchase drugged driving simulator kits and software, replenish educational supplies and replace outdated equipment in counties with the highest need, send at least four 4-H educators to the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, and provide training sessions for CARTEENS adult staff and volunteers.
The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 11 million people ages 16 and older had driven under the influence of illicit drugs. “This grant will help OSU Extension and State Farm stay on the leading edge of addressing issues before they become larger problems to solve in our communities,” Rennekamp said.
4-H CARTEENS has proven to be a valuable tool in educating Ohio’s teen drivers. Tom Archer, OSU Extension state 4-H leader, noted that data collected from CARTEENS participants indicate a significant reduction in second-time traffic offenses, increased use of safety belts, reduced drinking and driving, and increased caution when driving. “Overall, 91.4 percent of participants stated that the 4-H CARTEENS program is likely to change their driving habits,” Archer said.
Learn more about Ohio 4-H Carteens at http://go.osu.edu/CNdX