MARIA'S MESSAGE Young drivers take part in free defensive driving training courses

Better Ohio Teen Drivers Inc. partnered with Maria's Message to train young teens how to handle any advanced driving situation.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 100 central Ohio drivers participated in Saturday’s advanced driving training classes, a partnership between Maria’s Message and the Better Ohio Teen Driving Program.

“For moms and dads out there, this is the best thing they can do for their child. They are getting instruction out here that will save their lives,” said 10TV sports anchor Dom Tiberi.

As travel picks up this summer, car accidents remain the number one cause of death among teen drivers. The special training helps young drivers put an end to distracted driving.

“It is so important that this is back, and this is something that is near and dear to my family, that we're able to do this because we can't bring Maria back. But we want to do everything in our power to keep other families from going through the nightmare of losing a child,” Dom said. 

The Ohio Better Teens Driving program teaches advanced driving to young adults with simulations of distracting situations and handling external factors like ice, snow and slick roads.

“When it comes to driving, I'm excited for knowing what to do and being able to be in control and keeping an eye out for people who don't know how to do these things that we're learning,” said 15-year-old Delaware resident Reagan Benson.

“It's almost always driver error leading to loss of control of a vehicle because they don't have experience with these situations,” said Mark Bloom, the founder of Better Ohio Teen Drivers Inc. “We're trying to remove what we call panic input, and replace it with a trained reaction.”

Drivers are also learning how to handle swift lane changes on a highway in an emergency. The drivers left with certificates, but more importantly, they’ve learned lessons to save their lives.

Registration for the July 23 event will open on June 27. You can learn about the free course here.