NORTHRIDGE ( — Monday marks the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy joined forces with Impact Teen Drivers, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department and other safety partners for a community-wide event at Northridge Academy High School designed to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and help teens become safer and more responsible behind the wheel.

“Crashes are the number one killer of teens and 90 percent of crashes are due to human error,” Carolyn Duchene of Mercedes said.

A 2013 study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased dramatically for the first six months of 2012. Overall, 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 202 to 240, a 19 percent jump.

During Monday morning’s event, teen drivers maneuvered through a cone course distraction-free, and then again with diversions such as music, cell phones and passengers in the car.

“The more than we can do to raise awareness amongst teens that they really are in control and that if they make the right decisions, they really will be able to be safer, more responsible drivers,” Duchene said.

The event concluded at 10 a.m. with a special assembly dedicated to distracted driving.


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