Go-karts to help teach students driving safety

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 23, 2015

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Go-karts will change courses from recreational to educational at an upcoming event in Sterling Heights that is designed to persuade teens to be attentive, safe drivers on the road.

On Sept. 24, Kart 2 Kart Indoor Karting and Conference Center in Sterling Heights will host the Get SHARP distracted driving program for local schools as part of a private event. SHARP is an acronym for the Sterling Heights Alcohol Reduction Program.

The project is a joint effort that includes the Sterling Heights police and fire departments, the 41-A District Court, the Rotary Club of Sterling Heights and Kart 2 Kart. The schools involved include Utica, Stevenson, Henry Ford II and Sterling Heights high schools, organizers said.

Get SHARP will teach approximately 45 students to steer clear of driving while texting or otherwise distracted, impaired or intoxicated. During the event, teens will work with driving safety experts to experience a simulation of how distracted or intoxicated driving is dangerous.

In order to do this, the students will use “specially modified” karts and will also be able to put on goggles that impair vision to simulate intoxication. Best Buy of Utica is sponsoring a lesson related to texting and driving.

Students will hear presentations by traffic and safety experts, as well as from Ferndale police officer John Cleveland and his account of how his daughter was killed in an accident caused by a drunken driver.

According to Sterling Heights Police Lt. Aaron Burgess, the police and Kart 2 Kart have teamed up for years to promote safe driving.

Burgess said students who participate in the event are encouraged to tell their peers what they experienced. He said school guidance counselors select for the program the “ambassadors” of their schools — young people who can spread the word on what they experienced to friends and family in a positive way.

“It has become overly apparent with these unfortunate volume of crashes that we’ve had recently with young people involving alcohol and distracted driving that we have to have these programs out there,” he said.

“They’re extremely effective in bringing in every resource that we have to provide our teenagers with necessary information so they make better choices.”

According to Kart 2 Kart general manager Nick Capuano, the teens who partake in the activities and simulations are often in for a learning experience.

“They’re kind of shocked on how many obstacles they hit with the karts,” he said.

Learn more about Kart 2 Kart Indoor Karting and Conference Center, 42705 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights, by visiting www.kart2kart.com or by calling (586) 997-8800.

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