Students learn dangers of distracted driving

New drivers are four times more likely to get in a car accident when using a cell phone.

High school students learned the dangers of distracted driving Monday.

Bonnie Raffaele told the story of how her daughter, Kelsey, was killed in a car accident in 2010 because she was talking on her cell phone.  Raffaele has been the driving force behind Kelsey’s Law–which has been enforced since March–and the Kids Driving Responsibly Challenge.

“Bonnie knows first hand though the death of her daughter what distracted driving can lead to,” Michigan State Police Sergeant Robert Carter said.  “The program we have today is to let the students know not to drive while distracted, not to answer their texts, not to answer their phone.  Also (learn) about the laws we have in place to combat that.”

“My purpose in life was to take care of my children, and I could do that with Kelsey at a point where she needed me to,” Raffaele said.  “But, I can take care of these kids now, so this is now my purpose in life, is to take care of these kids and to tell them about the dangers of using a cell phone (while driving).”

The most important thing any driver can do is put their cell phone out of reach to diminish distractions.

“It doesn’t matter–no tweet, text, Facebook, email checking, talking…none of that is worth the risk of using your life or killing someone else, so put the phone away,” Raffaele said.

“Just pay attention to your driving,” Carter said.  “If you have to send a text or if you have to answer your phone, pull over to the side of the road, pull into a parking lot where it’s safe, and answer your mail and texts that way, instead of trying to drive.”

After the presentation, the students signed a KDR Challenge Banner, pledging to not be distracted drivers.  They were also given KDR Challenge wristbands to wear.

Raffaele also gave the same presentation in to students at Calumet High School.