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Distracted Driver Teens Fare Poorly in Michigan Police Simulation

"I ran about six stop signs," explained a Michigan high school student. Thankfully, these stop signs were on a closed course where Holland Police were teaching driver's education students about the dangers of distracted driving. Students were presented with a variety of distractions as they tried to navigate a course and most teens ran down the cones as if they were going bowling.

With April's backdrop as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Holland Police used these exercises to show young motorists the dangers of inattentive driving. The police officers told NewsChannel3 that the 16-20 year-old age group is the segment most involved in fatal car accidents. While inexperience and drunk driving contribute to that dubious distinction, it is apparent that text-crazy teens cause many crashes through distraction. While teen-centered initiatives are great to educate young drivers, Michigan's most recent crash fatality reports shows alarming data for the state as a whole.

Michigan Motor Vehicle Death Toll Rises in 2010

While the final tally has yet to be released, preliminary data indicates that Michigan had a four percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2010. That number is disproportional to the nation's motor vehicle death total, which was the lowest since reporting began in 1949.

The news is alarming to motor-vehicle safety advocates, law enforcement and legislators. Michigan, like most states, has been making a focused effort in eliminating car accidents by reducing drunk driving and distracted driving. Unfortunately, these efforts have not come to fruition.

As we near the halfway of 2011, please remember to stay sober and put down the phone. Let's use this year to reverse Michigan's upward trend of motor vehicle accident fatalities.

Sources: UpNorthLive.com, "Deadly traffic accidents down nationally, up in Michigan in 2010," April 1, 2011. Wmmt.com, "Wake-up call for distracted drivers," April 24, 2011.

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