The loss of any life in a traffic crash is tragic, but the death of a young driver is especially distressing. Automobile crashes accounted for over thirty-six percent of teen deaths and are the leading cause of death for teens under 18. In the United States, 1 in 4 crashes involve someone from 16 to 24 years old, are nearly twice as high as other age groups. While driving distractions have the potential to cause any driver to experience a crash, young drivers are especially susceptible to distraction while driving, and the consequences can be deadly. Starting a new driver on a life-long career of safe driving can have an immediate and long-term impact.

In response to the growing need to prepare teens to be safe, effective drivers, Restorative Justice and BCPC have partnered with local law enforcement to create awareness of distracted and dangerous driving. This was the second Reward/Warning day. On these days, local law enforcement conducted compliance stops where the youth in the cars were given a reward (ice cream certificate from either the Burnett County Dairy Coop or the Siren Dairy Queen) or a verbal warning. There was a chance here to educate both the adults and the youth about the importance of seat belts and the dangers of distracted driving. In total contact was made with 535 youth. Most had their seat belts on, and were paying attention to what was going on outside of the vehicle. There were nine violations, all were for not wearing seat belts. We would like to thank all those who made these three days such a success.

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