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Distracted driving event targets students at John Burroughs High School in Burbank

April 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Distracted driving has become a serious problem in this day and age thanks to the popularity of cell phones and text messages.

California Teen Safe Driving Week and National Distracted Driving Month, two efforts created to raise awareness on the incredible dangers of distracted driving month, kicked off this week.

With the help of other agencies such as Impact Teen Drivers, Mercedes Benz held a Driving Academy Tuesday at John Burroughs High School in Burbank. The academy set up a course on the school's campus to send out a serious message and help teens develop safe driving habits.

According to authorities, 35,000 teenagers lost their lives in automobile collisions across the nation last year. Officials said one tenth of those students were killed in California.

Those numbers are all too real to Bonnye Spray, who lost her 19-year-old daughter, Amanda, six years ago to distracted driving.

"She was both on the phone and then she'd text and then she'd be on the phone and then she'd text," Spray said. "She took a corner way too fast. She landed on the roof on a hill. It took firefighters 40 minutes to get her out of that car. For 20 of those minutes, she was not breathing; no one can survive that long without oxygen."

Spray says her daughter's death could have been prevented. She hopes that education and enforcement will change driving attitudes and behaviors and save lives.

Parents should urge their children to put their phones away immediately upon getting behind the wheel, Spray said.


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