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Distraction-Free in the D

2016 Contest:

We’re thrilled to be a part of the Distracted Driving campaign with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Fox2 Detroit! It’s not a secret that teen drivers are the most vulnerable to distracted driving.

According to the Safe Roads Alliance, the first 6 months of independent driving after receiving a license is the most dangerous time a driver will experience. And The Sam Bernstein Law Firm believes it’s important to keep our young drivers safe.

Too often we handle cases that result from distracted driving… whether it be from texting, eating, changing the station or one of the other many forms of distracted driving. These incidents have lifelong impacts on victims, their families and the drivers lives. That’s why it’s so important for us to take a stand with this campaign and to help prevent distracted driving before it becomes a habit for young drivers.

High School students – take part in our contest! Take the pledge and write a statement of up to 300 words about why you will drive distraction free and you could win cash prizes.

First place $2000
Second place $1000
Third place $500

The top five have the chance to go to the FOX 2 studios and appear in a FOX 2 Public Service Announcement. Go to to enter.

Please take a look at additional resources on and join our fight to end distracted driving!


2015 Contest:

High schoolers in Metro Detroit have the opportunity to take a stand against distracted driving at and win $2,500 for student activities in a new pilot project aimed at keeping teens safe on the road.

Distraction-Free Detroit – Distraction-Free in the D is a partnership between the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office and The Sam Bernstein Law Firm to raise awareness about the risks of distracted driving and prevent injuries and fatalities.

“As drivers, our attention should be on the task of driving at all times, not on passengers, mobile phones or anything else,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “We are encouraging young people to pledge that they will avoid all of the distractions and focus on driving.”

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths. In nearly 6 out of 10 incidents driver distraction was involved, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“We have learned first-hand about the dangers of distracted driving, with far too many cases coming through our office of carelessness leading to injury,” said Mark Bernstein, president and managing partner of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “This program is designed to break habits before they start and motivate young drivers to stay safe by learning early how to focus only on the road.”

Two of the most common distractions causing teen driver crashes are interacting with passengers and using a cell phone. Just one teen passenger doubles the risk that a teen driver will get into a fatal crash. Three or more quadruples the risk. And while most teens understand texting is dangerous while driving, surveys show most don’t believe that talking on a mobile phone while driving is dangerous.

In Michigan, Kelsey’s Law bans teens with a Level 1 or 2 graduated driver’s license from using a phone while driving. It’s named for Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, who died in a mobile phone-related automobile crash in 2010. Michigan also outlaws texting while driving for drivers of all ages.

The Distraction-Free Detroit campaign features a contest that runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2015. Students at high schools in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties can go to to take a pledge against distracted driving. Parents, school faculty, staff and supporters can go to the same site to take a quiz. Those who complete a pledge or quiz will earn a point for their high school.

Schools are divided into the four enrollment-based classifications used by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (class A, B, C and D) for competitive purposes. At the end of the contest period, the school in each classification with the highest percentage of participation will be awarded $2,500 for student activities. This will be calculated by adding up the pledges and quizzes for each school divided by its population.

The winning schools will be announced during National Teen Driver Safety Week in late October. No taxpayer funds are being used in the contest.

Invitations to participate were sent to high school administrators earlier this month. School officials can confirm participation by contacting by Sept. 21.

The Distraction-Free Detroit campaign also includes TV public service announcements and social media to remind teens and other drivers to focus on safe driving. Resources to help fight distracted driving are available at, including videos, driving tips and links to free safe driving apps. The site was created for parents and teens to easily find helpful information on driver education in the state.