Macomb County teens will get behind the wheel and learn firsthand what all teen-age drivers need to know as they participate in "Get SHARP," a driving program designed to demonstrate the importance of good judgment when on the road.
The program will take place Thursday at Kart 2 Kart Indoor Karting and Conference Center in Sterling Heights.
In the program, 40 students from Henry Ford High School, Stevenson High School and Sterling Heights High School are expected to participate.
Nearly 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving, according to the American Automobile Association. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that driver distraction was the cause of 16 percent of fatal crashes and 21 percent of crashes resulting in injury or 5800 deaths and 515 injuries.
Under the supervision of driving safety professionals, event organizers said the teenage drivers will get behind the wheel of Kart 2 Kart racing karts to discover the dangers of driving distracted, such as when texting or using a cell phone.
Through the use of special goggles that limit vision and specially modified go karts, they also will experience what happens to driving skills when under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.
"One of the most important lessons for teenage drivers to learn is that distracted driving and impaired driving endangers themselves and others on the road," said Tony Eckrich, Kart 2 Kart Managing Member. "'Get SHARP' is a great way for students to discover just how dangerous it is to drive when they're not fully in control of themselves or their vehicle. Though it's only a few hours of their time, we hope it's a time and lessons they remember and share with their friends and families."
Slated to attend the Get SHARP program are Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Sterling Heights Chief of Police Michael Reese, Sterling Heights Fire Chief Martin and Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte.
The SHARP in the program's name stands for "Sterling Heights Alcohol Reduction Program."
Produced by Kart 2 Kart and the Sterling Heights Rotary, Get SHARP is presented in cooperation with the Sterling Heights Police Department Traffic Safety Bureau, the Sterling Heights Fire Department, and the Michigan 41A District Court.
To learn more about Kart 2 Kart, click here.