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CHP Calls Distracted Teen Driving A Deadly Epidemic

CONCORD (KCBS) — It's an alarming statistic given by Kathy Berstein of the National Safety Council: teen crashes are the number one killer of kids; more than disease, suicide and homicide.

April is National Distracted Drivers Awareness Month and Golden Gate Division California Highway Patrol Commander Jonni Fenner said her officers have issued more than 3,000 citations for distracted driving this month alone.

The CHP calls it an epidemic. Deaths of 16-year-old drivers in California have gone up for the first time in more than a decade.

Berstein spoke at Clayton Valley High School in Concord at the invitation of the group, Impact Teen Drivers.

KCBS' Dave Padilla Reports:

Martha Tessmer, whose 16-year-old son Donovan died in July 2007 as a result of reckless teen driving, was in attendance.

"If I could turn back time, it wouldn't be to regain a relationship or an opportunity. It'd be to regain my son," she said.

Tessmer's message resonated with 17-year-old Courtney Butler, a Clayton Valley High School student, who said she gets very uncomfortable with distracted teen drivers.

She said her friend's sister will even check her Facebook while driving down the freeway.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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