SWLA teens learn about safe driving - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

SWLA teens learn about safe driving

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Carmen Broussard remembers last year's Iowa High School homecoming football game, but not in a good way.

"Westlake was winning and Iowa was disappointed, but not in the way that they were losing" she said. "They were like we're glad you guys won but our homecoming queen is now in the hospital... she's brain dead.  She got in a car accident on the way here".

That accident cost 17 year-old Mercedes Garcia her life.  The accident report showed she had been speeding, she'd been distracted by the phone and she was not wearing a seatbelt.  All things that State Farm and the Louisiana State Police wanted teens to avoid at Saturday's "Celebrate My Drive" event.

"We want them to focus on driving safe, driving undistracted and driving sober" said State Farm Representative, Jamie Eagles. 

"This is a time that we want to reach out to them while they're forming their driving habits at an early age" said Louisiana State Police Sergeant, James Anderson. 

Broussard is now months away from getting her license.  She participated in Saturday's event, driving an obstacle course while wearing goggles that impair vision.

"It was crazy" she said.  "You think it would be easy but it just proves that you should not be drinking and driving".

She wasn't alone.  As teenager, after teenager, after teenager tried driving, more cones kept toppling.  

"It did help me learn that when I do start to drive that I need to take my calls when I'm not driving" said future driver, Tyler Welch.  

According to State Police, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the nation and in our area, which is why showing them the dangers of driving impaired and distracted is so important.

"In our area 50 percent of the crashes we investigated were caused by an impaired driver" said Anderson. 

Barbara Dartez with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also had a piece of advice.

"Getting behind the wheel of car is like using it as a weapon because you're senses are not sharp and you just don't know what your doing" she said.

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