Our Springfield, Missouri car accident attorneys are always happy to hear about initiatives that aim to curb distracted driving, especially in teen drivers. We applaud the Springfield Council of Parent Teacher Associations (SCPTA) for sponsoring the Save-A-Life tour, which visited two local high schools this week: students from Central and Hillcrest participated in activities to promote awareness about the dangers of texting and driving.
Save-A-Life is well-known for its national high-impact alcohol awareness program: its drunk driving simulators have been widely praised for their ability to provide a sober perspective on the effects of alcohol on the mind. Last year, with support from the Missouri Eye Institute, the SCPTA brought the tour to Parkview and Glendale: students and faculty alike reported that the drunk driving presentations were hugely affecting. "They bring people to talk who really know what they're talking about," said Dawn Thompson, SCPTA president.
This is the first year the tour has offered presentations and simulation activities that address distracted driving, and Thompson said the SCPTA felt that it was a timely, relevant subject to discuss with students. "Since a lot more accidents are happening now with distracted driving, we thought this was the way to go. It affects more kids. It seems everybody has a cell phone now," Thompson said.
And she couldn't be more right. Here are just a few of the staggering statistics that reflect trends in teen driving behaviors:
• Teen drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in a fatal
car accident caused by distracted than any other age group. (NHTSA)
• 40% of American teens say they have been passengers when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
• 3 out of 4 teens say they own cell phones. (National Teen Driver Survey)
• 48% of teens say they talk on a cell phone, at least sometimes, while driving. (National Teen Driver Survey)
Save-A-Life's distracted driving program uses a combination of personal accounts, videos, and distracted driving simulation to present its message. Students at both high schools saw photographs of car accident damage. They also heard from the friends and family members of people who were injured or killed because of texting and driving. Then, juniors and seniors used the texting and driving simulator, which was equipped with a steering wheel, an iPod touch (which received frequent text messages), and a large screen to simulate the roadway and traffic.