Dearborn police focusing on distracted teen driving

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Photo by Bob Oliver
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad (right) congratulates Fordson High School student Jad Elharke (left) on his remarks at the Smart Driving Initiative event in front of the Dearborn Police Department on May 31. The event was held to highlight safe driving habits for young drivers.

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Police Department is hoping to limit the amount of accidents involving teen drivers this summer by focusing on distracted driving and its prevention.

At an event held in front of police headquarters May 31 several groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, AAA MIchigan, Ford Motor Co’s. Driving Skills For LIfe program and local high schools joined the department in a discussion about how to reduce traffic accidents involving teen drivers.

Police Chief Ronald Haddad said the department is working hard to lessen the number of traffic accidents.

“We want to highlight a trend that we see with the causes of youth accidents,” Haddad said. “We want to save some lives.”

Jad Elharke, Fordson High School National Honors Society student president, also addressed the crowd about what he has seen with his peers in high school.

“It’s rare to find a high school student without a cell phone,” Elharke said. “I think everyone has had the experience of receiving a call or text while driving, but it can always wait. It can always wait.”

Edsel Ford teacher and Drive Safe Campaign leader Tara Haddad also attended with EFHS juniors Hadeel Haidar, Benjamin Timpf and Safaa Nagi. Haddad said the students have designed T-shirts and created driver safety signs for the school and continue to work to improve driver safety at the school.

Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston said the importance of safety is paramount because of the number of younger drivers in Dearborn.

“We worry about the 19,000 DPS students that are in the community,” Whiston said. “We worry about their safety as the summer gets started. If our meeting to discuss this saves one life it makes it well worth it.”

Dearborn High School Assistant Principal Osama Baydoun said the meeting was “very personal” to him because when he used to work at Fordson High School two students lost their lives in car crashes.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 teens and young adults are killed every year on U.S. roads. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among individuals that age in the United States.

DPD officials said that they plan to leave the smashed Ford Escort in front of headquarters as a reminder to all drivers to handle their vehicles safely. The vehicle was placed there next to a sign reminding drivers to use their safety belts.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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