Sheriff’s deputies rewarding teens for good driving

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published September 16, 2015

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MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County sheriff’s deputies will be keeping an extra-close eye on teenage drivers this fall.

But they’re not looking for those practicing bad driving habits, but rather, those following the rules of the road and keeping themselves, their passengers and other drivers safe while behind the wheel.

Through a State Farm grant, the Celebrate My Drive campaign was launched with a focus on rewarding positive driving behaviors such as wearing a seat belt, coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, using turn signals, driving the appropriate speed, and not texting and driving.

Throughout the fall, deputies will be surprising teen drivers by rewarding those “caught” driving safely with a $5 gift card to Taco Bell, Subway or McDonald’s. About 200 gift cards will be given away.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said his office is pleased to be involved in the initiative.

“Programs like this help to develop positive relationships between our deputies and the young adult community,” he said. “We look forward to the positive interaction with our new drivers.”

Last month, the Sheriff’s Office got involved in a similar initiative with 7-Eleven. Through Operation Chill, local children and teens observed displaying good behaviors were rewarded with coupons good for a free small Slurpee at participating 7-Eleven convenience stores.

Wickersham said that campaign was also an “icebreaker, a way to encourage dialogue in a non-threatening, non-law-enforcement situation.” Nearly 5,000 Slurpee coupons were given away throughout the county.

In a press release, State Farm reported that the gift cards were purchased with grant money through its Celebrate My Drive campaign. Launched in 2012, Celebrate My Drive aims at “celebrating new drivers who make smart driving choices” — such as  two eyes on the road, two hands on the wheel — to reduce distracted driving and “help new drivers build confidence on the road.”