Hurricane Elementary Students Make a Difference
The Hurricane Creek Elementary Student Council, with assistance and guidance by school counselor Kelli Dockery, created signs such as “No Cell Phones in School Zones” and “Get Off Of Your Phone! “It’s the Law” in reference to Arkansas House Bill 1049 (prohibits the use of a handheld wireless telephone by any driver of a motor vehicle while passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present.)
The students, along with staff and other adults, have been displaying signs on various days throughout February warning drivers of the dangers associated with texting and using cellular telephones when they drive.
Benton Police Department (PD) Chief of Police Kirk Lane, Sheriff Rodney Wright, Chief Deputy Jay Fitzpatrick, and two Benton PD School Resource Officers paid the kids a visit yesterday to thank them for their effort in bringing attention to a problem that plaques our highways and streets.
The popularity of mobile devices has had some unintended and even dangerous consequences. We now know that mobile communications are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,328 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 421,000 people wounded.
Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.
Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable.
What You Can Do:
Give Clear Instructions – Give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. According to Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the easiest way to say it is: “On the road, off the phone.” Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Lead by Example – Children learn from their parent’s behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example for your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.
Become Informed and Be Active - Review the information in our Clearinghouse and the literature on the websites mentioned above. Set rules for yourself and your household regarding distracted driving. Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your children’s’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.