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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Promotes Teen Driver Safety

The week long program is targeting new drivers with the help of actress Hailee Steinfeld.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy promotes safe driving habits for students. (Creative Commons/ DrJohnBullas)
Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy promotes safe driving habits for students. (Creative Commons/ DrJohnBullas)
Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy hosted a press conference Monday at Fairfax High School to commemorate the 6th Annual National Teen Driver Safety Week.

MBDA, in association with Impact Teen Drivers, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department, and Los Angeles United School District Police, has a week of activities planned to help spread the message of safe teen driving techniques.

The events began Sunday and run through Saturday. These activities include school presentations, distracted driving demonstrations, parent and teen workshops and a teen driver safety fair.

The theme for this year’s activities is “Share, not Scare.”

Monday’s press conference was attended by local and state representatives, and it concluded with an assembly and a distracted driver demonstration.

This year, MBDA recruited Academy Award-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld to kick off the week’s activities and help promote awareness. Driver safety is important to Steinfeld, as she recently started learning how to drive.

“As I am learning to drive and my friends are too, it has become more of a personal issue for me to help spread the word about safe driving among my peers," said Steinfeld. "I realized I need to do my part in getting the skills needed to make good decisions on the road through more extensive training."

The number one cause of death among teens ages 15-20 is a car crash, according to the Center for Disease Control.  "Most of these deaths are the result of inexperience and distractions,” said Carolyn Duchene, Director of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy.

"These distractions can range from "drinking a latte, looking at your phone, turning on the radio, changing the channel, or talking to a friend," said Duchene.

The distracted driver demonstration Monday included students driving through a course marked with cones while trying to handle different distractions. Leah Mack, a student who explained her experience of texting behind the wheel.

"My eyes were totally on the phone. Even for the split second, and in that split second I hit a cone and that could be a car or any pedestrian on the street," said Mack.

"The course just shows you, when you're driving you gotta be in full control of the car and not pay attention to anything else. It just takes one second and you can kill somebody."

For more information on Mercedes-Benz Driving Acadmeny and the National Teen Driver Safety Week programs look here.


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