Park your phone. Buckle up. Slow down. Be safe.

Those were the messages Superintendent Kimberly Hill, Sheriff Troy Berry and members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office shared with Maurice J. McDonough High School student drivers this morning during the kickoff of the 11th annual We Care campaign.

McDonough student drivers were greeted Sept. 25 by Berry, Hill, McDonough Principal Steven Roberts and officers who passed out fliers reminding the teens of driving rules and driving safety. It was a safety message repeated at all county high schools where school resource officers, principals and staff members also stopped and passed out flyers to student drivers as they arrived to school.

“We care about you and we want you to be safe,” Hill told students as they drove into the parking lot. The Superintendent reminded students of the dangers of texting and driving as she handed each a flyer with the rules of the road.

The We Care campaign was established 11 years ago to get students involved in a conversation about safe driving. While it starts with the morning reminder the first month of school, the We Care program continues throughout the year with assemblies, guest speakers and other activities.

Female driver texting

“Since the We Care program started, crashes involving teen drivers have drastically reduced in Charles County. We continue to promote safe driving because we care about our young drivers,” Berry said.

School resource officers often conduct spot checks in school parking lots throughout the school year to ensure students are buckling up, limiting their passengers to those allowed by law and not texting or talking on cell phones while driving.