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    The Great Hang Up: Drive Smart challenge

    2:07 AM, May 21, 2011   |    comments
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    UNDATED (KTHV) -- Here at Today's THV, we are dedicated to helping keep your family safe. One important aspect of that -- putting your phone down when you are behind the wheel.

    "It can lead to so many bad things...and it's just better to stay off your phone while driving," says Claire Gibby.

    Meet Claire, a junior at Mount St Mary's high school and one of several impacted by the drive smart challenge. Seatbelts, teen curfews and distracted driving? Just ask these girls. For eight weeks, they and their classmates took on the challenge; a program conducted through the Arkansas Children's Hospital.

    "Motor vehicle crashes are the number one leading cause of death for teens. That alone says it all," says Olivia Wilson.

    Wilson, the safe teen driver coordinator at ACH spends hours with the participants. "If it was cell phone...if they were talking to friends and they had to many people in the car, changing the CD, changing the thermostat, checking Facebook, checking twitter on their cell phone, whatever the case may be it could lead to motor vehicle crashes."

    These students are not just hearing and spreading the word, they're competing against other students.

    Mount St. Mary's earned a reward for lowest cell phone usage and most creative. Colorful posters, scrapbooks, school-wide assemblies and cheers--all to encourage safety behind the wheel for drivers young and old.

    Jourdon Dyer isn't afraid to speak up for safety. "People I'm in the car with, they text and drive and I'm like, uhhhh, no don't please! It just - I think it should reach the parents too because it's important for them to be role models for their kids."

    Catherine Comerford went undercover to watch drivers one morning before school. "We discovered that more adults were using cell phones than kids were and we only had a 1 percent cell phone usage which was a little less than five people."

    A small percentage but that still means people need to hang up!
    Mount St. Mary's was one of six schools that participated in the drive smart challenge in Pulaski County.

    They joined Little Rock Christian Academy, McClellan, Mills, Pulaski Academy and Parkview.

    The program hopes to recruit more schools each year and grow statewide.

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