The students at Milford High School were met on Thursday morning with a presentation on the dangers of distracted driving by the Save a Life Tour. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Milford School District Resource Officer Joey Melvin helped to bring the distracted driver program to the high school students for the first time this year. The presentation, which was held in the auditorium, focused on texting and driving and real life tragedies that have happened as a result. Through video,the presenters of the Save a Life Tour told real-life accounts of texting and driving accidents that ended in injury and death.
A recent distraction added to our society in the past decade, texting and driving has become a problem among adults and young drivers alike. According to the Save a Life Tour the number of individuals killed in texting and driving accidents each year is the equivalent of a 100-passenger jet crashing every day for a year straight. Although the new law in Delaware that bans texting and the use of hand held cell phones while driving began on January 2, 2011, a large number of drivers still use cell phones while operating a vehicle.
“The use of cell phones while driving is so pervasive that there is not enough time in the day for officers to deal with every violation and perform their other duties,” stated Office of Highway Safety Program Coordinator Andrea Summers. “Interactive programs like this makes it more real for the students and will educate them about the real dangers of distracted driving.”
Since the statistics on the dangers of distracting driving are relatively new, it is very difficult for state officials to understand the exact impact presented by texting and driving but there is no question among experts that distracted driving leads to more dangerous situations on the roads.
“Today’s presentation was a real experience for me because I get to see a lot of individuals using their cell phones while driving through my line of work,” commented Officer Melvin. “We are all guilty of using our cell phones at some point while driving and we all need a reminder of the dangers. This type of presentation will really reach these kids.”
After the video presentation students had the opportunity to test the distracted driver simulator as part of the Save a Life Tour. Students had to drive their car around the animated city while texting the answers to basic questions on a cell phone. The drivers were given a ticket at the end of the simulation that stated what driving laws they had violated and a dollar amount they had to pay for fines and damages.
One student, Gaby Perez, was fined $12,580 for swerving, driving off road and texting while in the simulator. Her test drive ended in a fatal crash while she was using the phone to text.
“The simulator was just like real life,” commented Gaby. “it makes me not want to text and drive because obviously I cannot.”
The Save a Life Tour will visit four area schools this months including Seaford, Smyrna and Caesar Rodney. The Save a Life Tour was presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety through federal funding.