TAMPA BAY, Florida -- With the start of school, more teen drivers are behind the wheel again, and that means their safety, along with others on the road, is at risk. One of the major reasons for this is that teens are very susceptible to driving distracted.

A 2009 study for the government by the Pew Research Center reported that 34 percent of teens ages 16 and 17 have texted while driving, and more than half (52 percent) have used their cell phones while driving. 48 percent have been in a car with a driver who was texting, while 40 percent actually reported that they had been in a car with a driver who had used a cell phone in a way that put them in danger.

"They have no idea how seriously their driving is compromised if they try to talk on their cell phone. Most adults have this issue, and they've had years of practice compared with teens," notes Bruce Murakami, founder of Safe Teen Driver and TRACK.

TRACK, one of the nonprofit Safe Teen Driver's signature programs, gives teens 14 and older real hands-on practice driving with golf carts so they fully understand how distractions can cause traffic accidents or worse. They also drive go-karts on a professional go-kart track to learn other key driving skills that could save their lives. All programs within TRACK are taught by driver's education teachers, law enforcement, and people who've lost loved ones to a car wreck involving a teenage driver.

TRACK begins its new year on September 2. To learn more or for an interview with Bruce Murakami, please contact Bruce at 727-420-7937 or

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