Project gives teens incentive to avoid distracted driving - WNEM TV 5

Project gives teens incentive to avoid distracted driving

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Teen driving deaths are up across the country.

The latest numbers from the Governors Highway Safety Association show fatal crashes involving teenage drivers spiked about 10 percent in 2015.

Many of those deaths could have been avoided with better choices.

It is teen driver safety week and a new program is moving through Michigan's schools, hoping to inspire teens and save lives.

"What we went through was awful," said Sarah Schieber, mother.

Within one heartbeat Schieber, mother of three, became a widow at 33. Her husband, Chad Schieber, died during the Chicago Marathon in 2007.

Her husband was a Midland Police Officer.

She said one of Chad's passions in life was to find a way to motivate teens to drive safely.

"My only option is to give them a ticket, to give them a consequence. And if they don't care how do I influence them to make good choices," Sara Schieber said.

That's where Project 111 comes in. It was named after Chad's badge number and is an incentive program. Local teens pledge to pay attention to the road, not their phones, for the chance to win prizes.

"You are six times more likely to get in an accident while engaging in distracted driving - texting and driving - than you are had you been drinking and driving," Schieber said.

According to new research, doing something as simple as talking to your buddies while driving can be much worse than using an electronic device while driving.

A teenage driver's risk of dying in a car accident increases dramatically for every teenage passenger in the vehicle, according to the AAA report.

"Knowing that that could be the number one cause of death in distracted driving is very shocking to me," said Micah Schieber, teenager.

The goal to fulfill his dad's mission is always on Micah's mind.

"This is super important to our family because it was my dad's goal and my dad's dream," Micah said.

As for Sarah, the pain of that tragic day will always linger. She vows to do everything she can to prevent someone else from suffering the loss of a loved one to tragedy.

"If we can save one family, one community from having to go through what we went through, it's worth it," Sarah said.

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