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From left to right, sophomore Paige Loew, senior Sydney Beyer, junior Kaylee Brandt and junior Laura Kuhn.

Morris Area students head to D.C. for distracted driving summit

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Although texting and driving hasn't caused a serious accident in the Morris community, four local students will be working this year to address teen distracted driving in partnership with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS).

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"We've seen [texting and driving] around us, but we've been lucky enough to not have [an accident] happen in our community," said Morris Area senior Sydney Beyer.

Still, the issue can be a problem for area teens. "When I'm in the car with people and [friends] are texting, I'll tell them, 'I'll take your phone, I'll text for you!" Beyer added.

Beyer and three classmates in the Morris Area Business Professionals of America - sophomore Paige Loew and juniors Kaylee Brandt and Laura Kuhn - are one of 10 teams in the country that have been selected to join the NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Leadership Team.

The group - accompanied by advisor Jennifer Maras - will head out to Virginia Oct. 15 to 17 to help facilitate the 2011 Distracted Driving Summit. The team will fly out early to learn the ins and outs of hosting a summit like this one.

"They want our input on how we can change it so people will stop doing it," said Loew. "I think it's going to have bigger impact if kids are saying, 'Let's stop this' rather than adults."

After they return, the team, in conjunction with the Morris Area BPA chapter, will host both a state and local summit to work with Minnesota officials to address issues of distracted teen driving through youth engagement.

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Kim Ukura
Kim Ukura has served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune since August 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2008 with degrees in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010. Prior to returning to Morris to work at the Sun Tribune, she worked in trade publishing. 
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