GLENELG, Md. (WJZ)– As prom season approaches, many high schools are preparing their students to act responsibly.  One step is to pay attention behind the wheel of a car.

Mary Bubala reports.

On Monday, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch came to Glenelg High School in Howard County to speak with students about the dangers of distracted driving.

Even though Busch has posted 24 career victories on the track, he told the students that even he can become distracted behind the wheel when he’s out on the road.

“When I was a kid – 16 years old, had my first car, you know how I thought the world revolved around me. Well, it really doesn’t and you have to be aware of what’s going on the roadway and make sure you are not the one being a statistic,” Busch said.

Statistics show that 41,000 accidents each year involve teens, and car crashes are the No. 1 case of death for teens.

Busch spoke to more than 1,000 Howard County students before getting behind the wheel for a special demonstration in the school’s parking lot.

“I am going to jump in the safety bug and show some of those student council kids just how dangerous it could be — even as a professional — when you are distracted,” Busch said.

The safety bug is a modified Volkswagen Beetle that has a co-driver who simulates the reflexes of a driver under the influence.

Seven years ago, Busch was suspended by his racing team after being stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.  He hopes students learn from his mistakes.

“Driving on the roadway is a responsibility,” he said. “It’s a privilege, and I wanted to create more awareness as a NASCAR driver around how they can be safer on the road.”

Busch met with more than 1,000 students at the school during a special assembly.


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