4-H CARTEENS is a traffic safety program conducted by 4-H teen leaders and program partners for juvenile traffic offenders. 4-H CARTEENS goals include:

  • reducing the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders,
  • decreasing the number of teen traffic offenders, and
  • increasing teen awareness of traffic/vehicular safety.

4-H CARTEENS Background

Ohio State University staff located in county Extension offices recruit and engage adult volunteers and teen leaders who provide leadership to educational programs for youth in local communities. Over the years, county needs assessments conducted by OSU Extension have repeatedly identified teen vehicular safety as a priority need in Ohio’s communities.

The 4-H CARTEENS vehicular safety initiative was developed in response to this need. The original 4-H CARTEENS Program began in Brown County, Ohio in 1987. The local 4-H educator, volunteer teen leaders, the juvenile court and the Ohio Highway Patrol all collaborated to develop the program. Since 1987, the 4-H CARTEENS program has expanded throughout Ohio and to several other states across the nation.

What is 4-H CARTEENS?

The 4-H CARTEENS program is currently conducted in more than 40 counties in Ohio. In 2012, the Ohio 4-H CARTEENS program was recognized as a National 4-H Program of Distinction. The Muskingum County 4-H CARTEENS program started in 1995 under the leadership of 4-H Educator Lisa Bradley. More than 450 juvenile traffic offenders and parents attend the program annually, and the program has served more than 12,000 teens and parents since 1995. First-time juvenile traffic offenders are court-ordered to attend the program by Muskingum County Juvenile Court.

The monthly session lasts two hours and juveniles must attend with a parent or legal guardian. The program utilizes guest speakers, group discussion and hands-on skills stations that address driving under the influence, Ohio laws and distracted driving/speed. The program is designed to decrease the number of second-time juvenile traffic offenders by increasing traffic safety knowledge and raising awareness of negative consequences associated with poor driving decisions.

The unique quality of the 4-H CARTEENS program is that teen volunteers take an active role in program planning and serve as the instructors for the program.  At each session, the 4-H CARTEENS volunteers assist with participant registration, introduce the program and guest speakers, lead discussion, facilitate skills stations and help conduct program evaluation. As an educational organization, OSU Extension prides itself on not only teaching 4-H CARTEENS participants, but developing leadership, teaching and public speaking skills in our teen volunteers.

Partner Organizations

  • Muskingum County Juvenile Court - 740-453-0351
    • Judge – Eric Martin 
    • Magistrate – Erin Welch 
    • Liaison - Kathy Davis
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol - Zanesville Post
    • Lieutenant William M. Boyd

How to Become a 4-H CARTEENS Volunteer

If you are interested in serving as a 4-H CARTEENS volunteer, please contact Jamie McConnell at 740-454-0144 or mcconnell.210@osu.edu.

Requirements to be a CARTEENS Volunteer

  • be at least 15 years of age and have an Ohio learner’s permit or driver’s license;
  • have no more than one minor traffic violation upon starting as a volunteer;
  • not receive any traffic violations while serving as a volunteer; and commit to attending at least 5 of 11 monthly sessions each year.

For more information about 4-H CARTEENS, visit www.ohio4h.org/4-h-youth/teens/carteens.