Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 by John Fuller
As one of the fastest-rising causes of death in teenagers, texting while driving, is the focus of a new school-wide campaign to raise awareness of the dangers and effects of distracted driving.
The Student Council kicked off their campaign the week of Dec 6, as they showed videos on the daily announcements, passed out informational materials and held a pledge drive related to texting while driving.
“In doing research for this topic we realized that teens are the most likely to have an accident while texting and driving because they are the most inexperienced drivers,” student council sponsor Cyndi Owens said. “[Texting while driving] increases their likelihood of having an accident by 38 percent. It’s totally avoidable.”
One of the aspects of the campaign being led by the student council is a pledge drive, which looks to encourage students to pledge to not text while driving.
“I feel like people should know that texting and driving is not a good thing and it’s killing people every day. I don’t want to lose any of my friends and family members to it,” student council member Jorvis McGee said. “I hope they sign the pledge to not text and drive and go home and teach their friends to not text and drive.”
While the focus of the texting while driving campaign was in that first week, the Student Council hopes to expand the drive and raise awareness throughout the year and throughout the community.
“This is especially relevant because we are a young community. We not only high school drivers but young college student drivers,” Owens said. “Texting is something among the young population that is a way of networking and it’s almost impossible to stop unless you mentally make the decision that you have to stop, at least while you’re driving.”
In the past, focuses of safe-driving campaigns revolved around abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but in the digital age, student council members see the need for awareness about the dangers of operating mobile devices while simultaneously operating a motor vehicle.
State law-making assemblies throughout the nation have begun to pass laws restricting the use of telephones by drivers, but the State of Texas has yet to pass a bill of this nature through legislation.
The texting-while-driving campaign led by the student council is the second major push by the school community for distracted driving education, after a texting-while-driving simulator was brought to campus in October.
“The administration’s number one goal is to take care of the students that are with us. Parents entrust students to us 8 hours a day, and not just academically or through sports,” administrative assistant Maria Field said. “Our need is to take care of them, whether it’s in a car or when they’re here on our campus. Our number one goal is to make sure our students are safe.”