April 2012 marked the third annual National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, highlighting a serious topic that has been a major concern regarding not only teen drivers, but drivers everywhere. By teaming up with Impact Teen Drivers and other advocacy groups and offering free educational programs on the effects of distracted driving, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy helped to increase awareness among parents and teen drivers alike.
Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is a state-certified driving school – and the first international teen driving school – and it helps prepare teens for the responsibilities of driving on today’s roads. This past April, as part of California Teen Safe Driving Week, the kick-off event for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy offered distracted driving demonstrations at the Calabasas High School. The demonstration involved having students drive a closed course once without distractions, then again with distractions such as using a cell phone, having noisy passengers in the car and trying to perform simple tasks. Through this experience, the students were able to witness firsthand the impacts distracted driving has both emotionally and physically.
In addition to the driving demonstrations, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy offered free Parent & Teen Workshops at their Los Angeles facility, where coaches provided important information on Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, strategies for safe driving and teen driving statistics. Free assessment drives were also offered by the Academy through the entire month of April.
“Distracted driving is a major problem for drivers. Teens are now faced with more distractions behind the wheel, compared to previous generations of new drivers,” stated Marc Hemsworth, senior driving coach at Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and former LAPD officer and chief driving instructor. “Reinforcing the dangers of distracted driving and being a good role model are a few ways parents can help improve driver safety for their teens and everyone on the road.”
According to a 2012 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of teen drivers who died in crashes increased by 11 percent in the first half of 2011, after an eight-year decline. The National Highway Traffic Administration also reports that teen drivers have a higher likelihood of being involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported than any other age group.
Through a customized, interactive curriculum and highly effective coaching methods, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy aims to develop safer drivers who maintain better decision-making skills behind the wheel.