GREENWOOD (WISH) – Car crashes are now the leading cause of death among Indiana teens 15 to 18 years old.
A new study by the personal finance website, Wallet Hub, said Indiana ranks first in the nation in teen driving deaths.
24-Hour News 8 anchor Daniel Miller went to a driving school to find out what Indiana’s teen drivers are learning.
A driving instructor said that teen drivers can learn the basics, but becoming a skilled, safe driver takes years.
16-year-old Joseph Mangan is taking steps to become a licensed driver. He’s now taking a drivers ed course to learn the rules of the road.
“I’m really excited; It’s a big responsibility, but it’ll be nice to be able to drive places. Get around,” Mangan said.
Mangan is enrolled at Drive Zone in Greenwood. The driver education school teaches young and inexperienced drivers how to stay safe on the road.
“We do the best we can with teaching them all that we know,” said driving instructor Kim Heiney.
Heiney has been a driving instructor for nine years. She was a little shocked to hear Indiana has the most deaths per teen driver.
“It doesn’t feel too good especially when you’ve been teaching for so long,” Heiney said.
She said many teens aren’t thinking when they get behind the wheel.
“They just get in and go. They get distracted with their friends. They turn up the music. They don’t hear things going on around them. They’ll use their phone, texting and talking, and it gets distracting,” she said.
Heiney said that’s why there are required classroom hours and driving time — something Mangan said helps.
“It just gives you situations and stuff that’ll make you less scared. If I hadn’t had that, I would have been more scared on my first drive,” he said.