Campaign For Safer Teen Driving Accelerates
The first week of April marks the start of California Teen Safe Driving Week and a National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Car accidents related to reckless and distracted driving have become the number one killer of teens.
On Monday, at Calabasas High School, CHP officers, local law enforcement, teen drivers, and other companies worked together to help raise awareness to distracted driving.
The educational event included a closed-track course, set up by Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, where teens could try and navigate through streets in the face of everyday distractions.
Many of the young student drivers were shocked at how difficult it was to drive while distracted.
"It was hard to concentrate on everything," student Jessica Fuld said. "You had to do so many things, like talk on the phone...the girl behind me was hitting me and telling me to look at her text and it was really difficult."
Director of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Caroline Duchne said the average text takes four seconds to send. That's like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
In addition to the driving course, Impact Teen Drivers simulated a car accident caused by texting and driving for the students there.
After the gruesome scene played out, the students heard from Martha Tessmer, a mother of a son lost in a reckless driving accident. She now travels to schools to tell her tragic story in hopes it will inspire other teens to avoid a fate like her own son's.
"Every road trip is an important one because every decision made in a vehicle could be the last one you make in this world, so whether you're a driver or a passenger make good choices," Tessmer encourages.
After the presentation, student Sadie Buchenau remarks that having, "lived through [a car accident] once and seeing your friends die, it's hard to watch and not be affected by it."
Teenagers are more likely than any other drivers on the road to be in a fatal car crash due to distracted driving. Doing something as simple as sending a text, making a phone call, or changing the radio could be the difference cruising or crashing.
"Educating teens to make safe driving decisions helps protect us all," Senator Mark DeSaulnier says. "The state is working to use these events to help prevent friends and families from losing any more loved ones. And hopefully, through the efforts of Impact Teen Driving and other organizations, they will."