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October 06, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-10-06

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metro >> on the cover



Driving To Distraction

Event sends teens powerful message about the dangers of texting and driving.

he crashed into walls
of West Bloomfield.
Above left: This parked
and other go-carts while
Donna Harbour,
hearse from Hebrew
"Working with teens, we know how
attempting to drive and text.
director of sales and
Memorial Chapel made a
important texting is to them; we also
"You're just putting your
marketing for Paradise
powerful impact at the
know how dangerous it is',' said Adelman.
life on the line,' he said.
Park, said she was happy
Driving to Distraction
"So we were thrilled to have the oppor-
According to statis-
to offer the venue after
event designed to
tunity to work with Hebrew Memorial
tics compiled by the
Dube presented the idea.
discourage teens from
Chapel to help keep our teens safe."
National Highway Traffic
"I'm also a parent
texting while driving.
Safety Administration
The teens were divided into groups of
and a grandparent, so I
five or six and instructed to drive three
and published on the
thought it was great:' she
laps around the course without using their
U. S. Department of
said. "I think they [the
Above right: Local teens
cell phones. Park staff members and vol-
Transportation website,
teens] learned some-
experienced the effects
unteers from Hebrew Memorial served as
www.Distraction.gov, 5,474
thing tonight — I hope
of texting while driving.
timers and judges. Then each teen drove
people were killed and
they did."
another three laps while texting the mes-
an estimated additional
sage "Be Home Soon" to various unfamil-
448,000 were injured in motor vehicle
Awareness Dawns
Some participants described the experi-
iar phone numbers. Several lost control of
crashes that involved distracted driving
their go-carts, crashing into other vehicles
during 2009. The highest proportion of
ence as "scary," including Bri Dines, 16, of
or guard rails, cell phones flying. Those
distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes West Bloomfield and Elana Weinstein of
who didn't crash drove significantly slower
was in the under-20 age group.
Farmington Hills, adviser for the Aliyah
BBG chapter.
than they had during the non-texting
The U. S. Department of Transportation
cites three kinds of driver distractions:
Erica Lowenthal of West Bloomfield said
she was startled when her go-cart crashed
"I was shocked at the dif-
visual, taking eyes off the road;
ference, said Greg Wainwright,
manual, taking one or both hands
and her cell phone flew into the middle of
off the wheel; and cognitive, pay-
the track. Amichai Nadiv, 14, of Farmington
Paradise Park staff member.
Hills said he was aware of going much slow-
"The speeds decreased from
ing attention to something other
er when he was texting to avoid a crash.
20-25 mph to about 10-15
than driving. Texting usually
"I'm getting my license next month, and
mph. The ones who didn't
involves all three, which is why it
is so dangerous. Other activities
because of this, I'm never going to do it
slow down lost control of their
[text and drive]:' said Ariel Stollman, 16,
such as eating, talking to other
of Farmington Hills.
passengers, adjusting the radio, or
Some of the participants
At the end of the evening, each partici-
were taken aback when they
using a navigation system or other
electronic device can also cause an pant signed a pledge provided by Hebrew
saw the hearse parked at the
Memorial Chapel stating they will not text
entrance to Paradise Park,
accident by diverting the driver's
attention from the road.
nor use a cell phone while driving now or
along with an EMS truck with
"I was coming around a bend,
in the future. The adults who were present
blinking emergency lights. Car
hope it is a promise the teens will keep.
fixing a letter I had messed up in
magnets and key chains bore
"This was a lot of fun and games, but
the slogan "Don't Text and
my text. I looked up and crashed
have to realize this is serious:' Levin
Drive — We'd Rather Wait —
Austin Goodman, president of BBYO Michigan Region,
Hebrew Memorial Chapel."
experiences the distracting effects of texting while driving.



October 6 2011

Planners said they believed such a pow-
erful message was necessary to convince
their teenage audience how dangerous
texting while driving can be.
"Teens think they're invincible; they
don't realize their own mortality," said
Rabbi Boruch Levin, Hebrew Memorial
Chapel executive director. "I want to tell
them, 'Look at your last text. Was it worth
dying for?'
More than one teen described the
hearse as "creepy."
"It was pretty poignant:' said Sheryl
Isenstein of West Bloomfield, whose
daughter Ellery, 14, participated in the
event. "It was pretty graphic, but anything
they can do to get the message across to
these kids ..."
Some of the teen drivers still are wait-
ing to take drivers' training. Josh Israel
of Farmington Hills, 14, said he is deter-
mined never to text while driving because

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