On the 11th day of every month, 11 juniors at Mount View High School will wear shirts with the number 11 on the front.

The Thorndike high school is participating in Program 11 – an initiative aimed at keeping central Maine high school students from texting while driving. Launched by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, the program’s name refers to data showing that, on average, 11 U.S. teenagers die every day while texting and driving, Capt. Dennis Picard said. Sources for the figure include the Insurance Institute for Highway Fatality Facts.

Other groups have similar figures on the dangers of distracted driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in 2011, more than nine people of all ages were killed and more than 1,060 injured per day in crashes traced to all types of distracted driving.

It can be hard sometimes to get students to see beyond their own personal circle, Mount View School Resource Officer Nick Oettinger said. But Program 11 could help change that, he said, by sparking personal conversations about the dangers.

“When people realize someone close to them has been affected, the message seems more important,” he said.

While only Gardiner and Mount View are participating in the initial launch, the department hopes to spread the program to all Kennebec County high schools, Picard said. The program is free to participating schools and is paid for by the sheriff’s office.

To help recruit for the program, students will be awarded community service hours for wearing Program 11 T-shirts, which have an 11 on the front and a code on the back that can be scanned using a cellphone app. Picard said students can scan the code with their phone and pull up statistics on texting and driving dangers.

Mount View students Seth Davis and Meredith Picard, both wearing the Program 11 shirts, said Thursday that they had seen shocking videos and photos in public service announcements about the dangers of texting while driving and don’t feel tempted to text while they drive.

“My dad has shown me the YouTube videos,” said Meredith Picard, daughter of the sheriff’s office captain.

Davis participated in a Maine Criminal Justice Academy program this summer and said academy officials also told him about the risks associated with distracted driving.

“It’s not something that’s worth it,” he said.

A statement about the program cited National Safety Council statistics showing that texting while driving causes 1.6 million accidents per year in the United States, and a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study saying it causes 330,000 injuries per year.

The CDC study also found that drivers under 20 appear to be at the highest risk for cellphone-related fatal accidents.

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