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“Raptors Drive Safe”: Distracted Driving

https://dcsdk12.org/chaparral-students-launch-safe-driving-campaign

From the time Henry Ford created the automobile, cars have presented us with the benefits of getting around, showing our style, and so much more. What some have disregarded is the fact that an operative vehicle is essentially a destructive weapon; our vehicles are weapons just as much as they are luxuries. More deaths have happened on the roadway than anything else. Needless to say, most of these accidents occur due to a distracted driver. Distracted driving can be anyone out on the road, not just teenagers.

These impacts continually hit close to home as we see Chaparral High School honor their former student, Taylor Llewellyn, in a campaign created by marketing students that emphasize the dangers of distracted driving.

Last week, Eaglecrest High School followed in suit and participated in a Distracted Driving week to spread awareness of the consequences of distracted driving; the catchphrase being “Raptors Drive Safe”.

To begin the week, games were available to play at lunch as well as a safe driving photo booth to serve as an intro on the topic. Students could also grab punch cards and go to each event throughout the week in order to be eligible for a raffle card. There were no events Monday night; however, a crash car was available in the front parking lot for people to see.

Tuesday’s festivities included more table games at lunch and dodgeball that night at 6:30 in the east gym.

Wednesday at 7:00 am there were 10 minute presentations held on safe driving with free bagels courtesy of Einstein’s Bagels.

To round the week off a mock car accident after school was held in the front parking lot. Student actors, local firefighters demonstrated the aftermath of a real accident and local police officers performed an arrest and extraction from a car.

“The vehicle you have is a dangerous weapon, but you’re in charge.” Fireman Wells, a participant in Distracted Driving week accident demonstration said. “It’s a 7000lb missile, and if you lose control of it, that becomes a weapon that kills far too often.”

Being within the chain of emergency personnel, Wells shared first-hand advice with students on how to be safer drivers and used examples from his profession in in order to highlight the potential consequences dangerous driving habits can have.

“The choice you make to be a distracted driver – because it is a choice- has a lifetime of ramifications that you can’t ever take away.” Fireman Wells said. “The hardest part about my job is having to see teenagers die who we [as firemen] later learn that were we such great kids. A dead child, even if they’re a teenager is excruciating.”

After Friday’s car accident stimulation, Fireman Wells emphasized that these accidents are among the list of his least favorite tasks.

“The reason we are out here today is because the teachers, firefighters, and police officers really care about your safety.” Wells said. “As much as we talk about it, it’s still going to happen, but I just hope that the students who came out today could take away an important lesson and prevent these types of accidents.”

One’s life can be changed with-in the matter of seconds. Throughout the week, students have reflected over the valued lessons they had obtained, and Friday’s stimulation really hit home after witnessing and experiencing a car accident with fellow classmates.

“Safe driving week really brought attention to the things that teen drivers do behind the wheel that we probably shouldn’t. You can never be reminded too much about not texting, not drinking, and not doing even small things that distract you like eating or doing makeup.” Miranda Jernberg, Student Council member said.

The impacts of the school’s campaign to raise awareness among students proved to be successful, yet Friday morning we were reminded that one can never be safe enough when multi-car accident occurred just prior to the start of the school day. Junior Caleb Reasy was involved in the accident along with his sister and felt that high tensions from traffic blockades in the front parking lot due to the anticipated mock car accident did play a role in the crash.

“I was rear ended and I do believe that the demonstration in the front did have something to do with the distracted adult that is to blame for smashing the back of my car” Reasy said. “I was at a complete stop and the momentum of the crash sent my car forward crashing into the car in front of me and making the front of my car be obliterated.”

Although public awareness can only do so much to prevent an epidemic, it is a step that Eaglecrest students felt necessary in taking. With the progress made so far, we must leave it up to our community drivers and hope that driving defensively and safely can alleviate some of the problem.

Stated best by junior Camryn Miller, “This week makes you realize how precious life is. And that with a second of distraction someone’s life could be impacted. I think this week just made people realize that safe driving could help save lives”.

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