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New license plate to boost student driver ed

By John Published: September 13, 2010

Photo courtesy of Ray Sanderbeck

Ray Sanderbeck, whose 15-year-old daughter, Michelle, was killed in a traffic accident in 2006, has led the effort to improve driver education with driving simulators through the Michelle's Leading Star Foundation, named for his daughter.

The machines use computer graphics to simulate increasing levels of driving difficulty in a variety of landscapes and weather conditions. Lessons on driver safety complement practice in the simulators.

Last year, Ohio Rep.  William Batchelder, R-Medina, authored legislation to create a specialty  license plate to help fund the purchase of more simulators. This about the plates, available beginning Oct. 1,  from Sanderbeck's press release:

Proceeds of $10.00 per plate will be deposited into Michelle's Leading Star Foundation to help fund a Teen Simulated Driving curriculum across high schools in the State of Ohio. The average cost of a special interested plate ranges from $65 to $70 and can be ordered at your local BMV or by visiting The emphasis is to create awareness of ''SAVING TEEN LIVES.''

Michelle's Leading Star Foundation was formed by the Sanderbecks and is now in its fourth year of existence. It has integrated a Simulated Drivers Educational curriculum targeted at young teens preparing them for adulthood and teaching them critical driving skills in a safe controlled environment at Medina High School. Its purpose is to help educate teens to make better choices, be responsible and stay focused while driving.

 Michelle Sanderbeck was killed in a one-car accident while riding with three other teenage passengers and a 16-year-old driver who had held his license for only a month. Police determined that speed and the young driver's inexperience led to the crash. 

Ray Sanderbeck and his wife, Debbie, inspired changes in Ohio's teen licensing laws, including a restriction that took effect in 2007. It says 16-year-old drivers may have only one nonfamily member as a passenger.



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