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Texting and Driving: Students Take a Stand

High school students are learning that when they are driving, texting can be just as dangerous as drinking.

Does your teen son or daughter text and drive? Do his or her friends?

According to a survey from AT&T:

  • 75 percent of teens surveyed say that texting while driving is "common" among their friends;
  • Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less;
  • And 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.

Educators are starting to target distracted driving—including texting and driving—just like drinking and driving in their safety messages to local students.

The problem, they say, is that many students don't connect texting and driving as a dangerous combination.

Dearborn students join the message

In Dearborn, the Safe Mature and Responsible Teen Summer Driving Campaign stands as an annual reminder to local teens to make good decisions while driving—during warm weather and beyond.

County, state and local officials join together in their message to Dearborn teens, summed up by Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon: "Don't drive distracted."

At Dearborn Public Schools, the message continues. District spokesman David Mustonen said the decision of how to spread the message against distracted driving is left up to each high school and student groups—but however they address it, it's an important issue for local teens.

At Edsel Ford High School, some teens took part in the Strive 4 a Safer Drive campaign during the 2011-12 school year.

According to an article about the project in school newspaper The Bolt, "The primary goal is to spread awareness throughout the school and ensure that drivers here at Edsel know the effects of distracted driving. The goal of the project is to change the driving habits of teenagers."

Resources for parents, schools and teens

A new campaign from AT&T is hoping to change that mentality and highlight the dangers of texting and driving. The It Can Wait program, which launched in September, encourages drivers to take the pledge, promising to not text and drive.

Many schools in the area are teaming up with AT&T and promoting the campaign to students and their parents.

AT&T is also now offering a Drive-mode app which sends an automatic “I’m in the car driving” message to a user's top five contacts.

Have you taken the pledge to stop texting and driving? Enter our Patch.com/AT&T contest and tell us why.

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