Distracted driving event urges teens to turn off phones, focus on road

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Reckless and distracted driving is the top killer of teens in America. The California Highway Patrol partnered with a local school to drive that message home for those who need it most. (Shutterstock)

Reckless and distracted driving is the top killer of teens in America. The California Highway Patrol partnered with a local school to drive that message home for those who need it most.

Officers and educators set up a coned course at John Burroughs High School in Burbank on Monday to offer students hands-on experience.


Teens at the school took turns driving through the course while texting and changing the radio stations. Many were a bit surprised at how close they came to hitting cones while driving distracted.

"You actually have a driving instructor next to you, and just imagining that without them, and you're in the car with your friends, their lives are at risk and I definitely would not do that after this experience," said Natalie Kojababian, an 11th-grader.

For National Teen Driver Safety Week, the CHP's Impact Teen Drivers program and KIIS FM partnered to send a message to young drivers.

"That second you take to grab your cellphone and to say 'I'm on my way,' or you're talking or making a joke with your friends, that second can take a life," said Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill.


The statistics are sobering. An average of 11 teenagers die every day in traffic collisions that are often preventable. Jeri Dye Lynch spoke about her son Conor, who was killed by a distracted driver

"It was five years ago that he was killed. He was an outstanding student, a junior in high school. He was training with his high school cross country team after school when he was hit and killed by an 18-year-old distracted driver," Lynch said.

Officials are hoping to change these statistics around.

"We're often told to pick our battles. This is a winnable battle," said Kelly Browning with Impact Teen Drivers.


Authorities want to drive the point home to teens to make a choice to turn their cellphones off and focus on the road.

"There are lives that have been changed forever because someone thought that it was the right time to send a text, a message, a phone call, reach for their phone," Lynch said.

To learn more, visit http://impactteendrivers.org.

Related Topics:
safetyroad safetydistracted drivingdrivingteenagerteenteenagersCHPsouthern californiacellphonecellphone distractionssmartphonesCalifornia
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