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Restaurants Join 'Practice Driving With Your Teen' Campaign

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Medical experts are teaming up with restaurant chains to help make Maryland's roads safer.

Falling between Memorial Day and Labor Day and known as the "100 deadliest days," summer is considered the deadliest time for drivers because more teens are behind the wheel.

"Summer time, we have more crashes on the road because there are more young drivers on the road," said Dr. Richard Lichenstein, with the University of Maryland Children's Hospital.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, distracted driving is the cause for 60-percent of teen crashes.

"Everyone is like, 'Oh, only a couple seconds while driving, that's not going to be a bad thing.' But every five-seconds, you drive over a football field. Think about that," said Liz Marks, a safe driving advocate.

In 2012, Liz Marks from the Eastern Shore hit a tow truck while checking a text message behind the wheel.

Stories like hers are all too common. More than a thousand people die every year in crashes involving teen drivers.

The University of Maryland Children's Hospital is launching a campaign to make our roads safer, starting with parents.

"They really need to look out for their children. This is a dangerous time, and they can be their best role model in setting good examples of how to drive," said Lichenstein.

The Greene Turtle restaurants and Miss Shirley's restaurants are joining the campaign by placing stickers on their takeout bags. The life-saving message reads: "Practice driving with your teen. They'll [heart] you [later]."

"We also employ a lot of teenagers, so we want them to get to work safe and leave work safely and keep the rest of our state safe," said David Dopkin, Miss Shirley's manager.

Parents are also supporting the sticker campaign, taking on the responsibility to lead by example.

"If you're teaching your kids to buckle, and you're teaching your kids the importance of driving the speed limits and driving cautiously, then a parent also has to do the same, because children are ultimately going to do what the parents are doing," said Troy Pumphrey, parent.

From now until June 24, more than 10,000 stickers will be passed out.

All three Miss Shirley restaurants and 18 Greene Turtle restaurants are participating.

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