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Prom safety program set for Tuesday at Willmar, Minn., Senior High

WILLMAR — The Willmar Police Department will offer a Traffic Safety Day for Willmar Senior High students Tuesday, a few days for the high school’s prom.

Activities begin at 9:30 a.m. and will give the students instruction on being safer drivers. The activities will include a roll-over simulator.

“Distracted driving and excessive speed cause most of our teen fatal and serious injury crashes in southwest Minnesota,” Willmar Police Department Officer Gene Schneider said in a news release. Schneider is the departments School Resource Office at the senior high.

“Also, lack of seat belt use is a huge issue,” Schneider said. “More than half the number people who die in traffic crashes in our area are not buckled up. It’s tragic that these injuries and deaths are so preventable.”

According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, teen crashes have predictable and preventable patterns. They are prone to making simple driving errors, often while speeding. They are twice as likely to crash at night. Crashes while driving to and from school, especially after school, and with other teens in the car are common. Also, teen passengers increase distractions and promote risk-taking behaviors.

The Willmar Ambulance Service, Minnesota State Patrol and Willmar High School Student Council will assist in the presentation.

—Linda Vanderwerf