(WJBK) - I'm sure you've seen them, and maybe you've been one -- a distracted driver. Phone, food, GPS and radio are all distractions and are a big concern for young drivers. So, FOX 2 is teaming up with others in the community to raise awareness.
Novi High School Principal Nicole Carter shares the message with her students, and she's helping us get out the same message. She helped us transform her school into a set to help us spread the word.
"I think it's important simply just to get the word out. Knowledge is power. The more that we can educate our young people in society as a whole in regards to the dangers involved with texting and driving, I think it can go a long way," Carter says.
Texting isn't the only bad habit causing a ruckus on the roads. Det. John Zabick works closely with Novi Public Schools, and explains what distracted driving is.
"Distracted driving is anything that takes your focus away from the primary responsibilities behind the wheel, and that is operating a car," he explains. That means even messing with the radio can be distracted driving. The truth is, whatever it is - it can wait.
"Don't be so ruled by the here and the now, the fact that you have to respond to somebody's text message or phone call, that you're going to put yourself or somebody else in danger, because you can't undo those types of decisions that could get you in a position of jeopardy," Zabick says.
Not only is it dangerous -- it's illegal.
"You cannot text and drive, no matter what your age is. Don't use your cell phone any more than you have to, and if you're in Phase One or Phase Two you can't use it at all by law," Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds us. "We have very strict rules in Michigan to protect not just the driver, but the rest of us that are out on the road, too, with our families."
Here's the bottom line. The number one cause of death for teens is car crashes. And, the majority of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving.
So, FOX 2 is teaming up with the Secretary of State and the Sam Bernstein Law Firm to produce a series of messages encourageing young people to drive distraction-free.
"This is really importante because we are focused on the most at-risk population for distracted driving," Mark Bernstein says. "So, it's our goal to reduce that type of activity and to make it safer for everybody."