November 24, 2014 - 3:39pm -- young.1414

Summer is officially over now that Labor Day holiday celebrations have concluded, the school kids are back in school, everyone is getting focused on the new iPhone 6 release and all the holidays coming up this fall.  Also, more teens are on our roadways during the school week.  More teens are settling into the new school year with homework, extracurricular activities, and going to work.  This week I would like to focus my article on teen drivers.  How many of you know what the 4-H CARTEENS program is all about?  The 4-H CARTEENS’ primary purpose is to decrease the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders by educating them on safe driving habits.  The program is offered here at the OSU Extension office in Butler County. 

The program is a partnership between the Butler County Juvenile Justice, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and The Ohio State University Extension.  The youth participants in this program are first time offenders.  They are mandated by the juvenile justice to attend the 4-H CARTEENS program.  At the conclusion of the 4-H CARTEENS program, the youth participants leave with a better  understanding of  the ramifications of driving under the influence, increased awareness of state traffic laws, better knowledge of how to correct their reckless driving habits and reduce their road rage, and systematically wear their seatbelt while driving.  In addition, youth participants also learn the importance of reducing their speed behind the wheel, recognize the hazards of road conditions due to weather, increase their knowledge of current traffic signs, reduce their  driving inattentiveness while behind the wheel and appreciate the life altering experiences of people who have been ticketed for operating a vehicle impaired.

The program currently meets every Wednesday from 6:15 pm until 8:30 pm during the school year and bi-weekly during the summer.  Parents are mandated to attend the entire program with their youth.  The peer teens teaching the program enrolled in the Butler County 4-H program are required to arrive at the program by 5:00 pm.  The peer teen volunteers come in and set up everything for the evening program.  Each 4-H CARTEENS volunteer receives four volunteer credit hours for each program, plus there are outside events in which they can earn additional volunteer hours.  The recorded hours are used for completing scholarship applications offered by the 4-H CARTEENS program, job applications and school service learning project evaluations.  Many schools in Butler County require their youth to do some kind of service learning project in their local community.  At the end of the service learning project, the 4-H CARTEENS coordinator completes a brief evaluation for the school the youth attends. 

Service learning benefits numerous parties, from the schools to the agencies to the communities and society (Civic Literacy Project 2002), but overall, it is the students who need and receive the most gain.  Service learning was introduced into schools on the premise the students would evince academic gains from their volunteering efforts.  Current research indicates that much can be derived from using volunteer work for educational purposes.

Youth that complete their service learning at the 4-H CARTEENS program gain a better knowledge of road safety, improved confidence, develop better public speaking skills, learn how to be attentive to the needs of others, and they make some awesome friends for life.  4-H has been around for over 100 years and has a very rich history here in Butler County.  There are a lot of proud 4-H alumni in Butler County.  Adding the 4-H CARTEENS program to a resume or job application will only help you to stand out in the crowd of applicants in today’s job market.  To learn more about this awesome service learning opportunity, please contact Kevin Harris via email at harris.2184@osu.edu or by phone at (513) 785-6650. 

I would also like parents and teens to review the following fall safe driving tips.

  • Keep Your Vehicle In Good Shape – Now is a good time to have your brakes and tires inspected to ensure both are in good working order just in case you encounter a pair of antlers.  You should also check to make sure your seat belts fasten properly, as buckling up can improve your chances of emerging from an accident unscathed.
  • Check Your Clock – Deer tend to be on the move during dawn and dusk.  Since road visibility can be low during these times, try turning on your high-beam headlights to get a better view; however; you will need to make sure to tone them down to low-beam when oncoming traffic approaches.
  • Look Out For the Group – Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one in your path, keep your eyes open for the rest of the group.  Slow down (let up off the gas pedal) and do your best not to swerve if deer enter the road.  If you swerve you will likely just cause another accident while trying to avoid another.  And finally, be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the cars around you, in case you need to brake quickly.

Best wishes for a great school year and safe travels on our road ways this fall.

For up-to-date program information, check us out on the web at:  butler.osu.edu.

News Release provided by Kevin Harris.