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Cell Phone, Car Keys Don't Mix

CHP talks to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving.

Cellphone use, rambunctious friends, loud stereos—these are all driving distractions that put motorists, and especially teenage drivers, at risk.

Friday, the California Highway Patrol and a group of student leaders put on the IMPACT Teen Drivers program for the student body to education the teenagers about distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the CHP is involved in a variety of education and enforcement programs. Tuesday, CHP officers and police from the county's four cities , both of which are against the law.

CHP officer Sarah Jackson told the student audience that split-second decisions, like reading a text message, can have horrific consequences.

Just this week, on Monday, a young man driving north on Highway 1 with two teenage friends in the car was fiddling with his stereo and didn't notice traffic ahead had stopped because of Caltrans roadwork. He crashed into the back of a van carrying four U.S. Army soldiers, Jackson said. The two teens and the soldiers all needed medical attention.

Friday's program for Aptos High students debuted in Santa Cruz County last year at. Earlier in the week, Jackson shared the same information with students at , and Highlands high schools. Next week, she'll present it at San Lorenzo Valley High, and students in Gilroy will hear the message from their regional CHP officer, Jaime Rios.

In Santa Cruz County, IMPACT Teen Drivers is put on with help from the Friday Night Lights program.

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