Sheriff: Teens 'text and drive' through obstacle course

6:35 PM, Oct 14, 2011   |    comments
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CUYAHOGA COUNTY -- It may sound dangerous but deputies will have teens from 3 local schools -- Mayfield, Westlake and Chagrin Falls high schools -- "text and drive" through an obstacle course.

Accompanied by Sheriff's deputies, they will experience first-hand the dangers of distracted driving and driving while texting as they navigate a golf cart through an obstacle course in the parking lot north of Cleveland Browns Stadium, next to the William Mather Museum Tuesday morning.

It's a joint project with sheriff's office, Allstate Insurance and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to kick off the annual fall "Safe Driving" campaign to reduce distracted driving by teenagers.

Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, who practiced again Friday and hopes to play Sunday in Oakland, will represent the Browns Tuesday.

Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of American teens. Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years of age have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

Reaching for a phone while driving increases your risk of a crash by nine times. Texting takes our eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that's driving the length of a football field -- completely blind.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office and Allstate Insurance believe it's critical to equip teens with the knowledge and tools to become smarter drivers, which will help eliminate deadly distractions from the car. Distractions -- such as texting and talking on the phone -- impair the ability to drive safely.

Experiencing those situations themselves, in a safe, controlled environment, will allow the teens to form their own opinion and help change the way they think about texting while driving.


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