On November 1, Oklahoma will become the first state in the nation to require a work zone and first responder safety course for teenage drivers.
[Above image by the Oklahoma DOT]
The new law will require all Oklahoma teens to complete the free Oklahoma Work Zone Safe and First Responder Safety online education course before applying for their intermediate driver license.
Work Zone Safe – along with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Service Oklahoma – are highlighting this new law as motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of deaths for U.S. teenagers.
Work Zone Safe was created by Tom Robins for the Oklahoma DOT in partnership with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Association of Oklahoma General Contractors, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. The program teaches teens about work zone and first responder safety and introduces them to the faces behind the flag and flashing lights.
The Oklahoma DOT added that “it is imperative” new drivers – especially teenagers – understand the importance of driving safely inside work zones and moving over and slowing down for first responders.
In Oklahoma, 91 motorists were killed in work zone crashes on state highways and turnpikes in the past five years, the agency said. Additionally, 102 drivers under the age of 20 were severely injured in work zone crashes in the past five years along with 10 young motorist fatalities in that same time frame.
“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 DOT secretary, in a statement.
“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,” he added. “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.”
While Work Zone Safe is offered to students across the nation as of 2023, Oklahoma is the first state to require teen drivers to take the course before applying for their license.
Once completed, teens can download their Work Zone Safe certificate and present it to Service Oklahoma when they apply for their learner permit. Teens must have it completed by the time they take their drive test for their intermediate driver license, according to Service Oklahoma.