The Washington Times-Herald

October 22, 2013

Students learn dangers of distracted driving

By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — MONTGOMERY — Students at Barr-Reeve Middle/High School had the opportunity to attend Celebrate My Drive, a safe driving event hosted by the school’s Students Against Dangerous Decisions (SADD) Club and State Farm Insurance.

Local State Farm Insurance agent Malcolm Dubbs and SADD Club sponsor Kim Fields helped organize the event. Boyd Grain, and Gary Allison of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department also took part in the event.

SADD originated as a branch of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, originally promoting a drinking and driving prevention and has since expanded to include a host of things such as peer pressure, drug use, teen suicide and violence among other things. The group is also currently at the state level trying to educate young people about the importance of wearing a seat belt.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety belts have been identify as the most effective strategy in preventing deaths and minimizing injuries. In 2012, less than one-third of young Indiana drivers, ages 15 to 20, were killed in crashes were restrained.

“The goal is to draw attention to teen driving practices,” said Fields. “We want to remind our students that following sound judgement and traffic laws is very important to their safety and that of others.”

The event, which took place in the school parking lot, allowed students the chance to participate in a variety of activities that were divided up into stations.

Students first put on their “seat belts” made of brightly colored duct tape. “The seat belts are to remind students of the importance of this simple and quick way to help save lives,” said Fields.

A semi truck was placed on the school parking lot with vehicles parked in front and behind so students could see what a semi driver is able to see in front, beside and behind them.

The Quick Click Challenge, a race event, was the most fast paced for the students. Students were divided into teams of four. Each of the team members had to find a seat in a SUV and put on their seat belts as quickly as possible. The team did this four times until each team member and set in every seat. The team with the fastest time received a prize.

Fatal vision goggles were used for three events. Students wore the goggles, which simulate intoxication, to play bean bag toss, walk a line and drive a golf cart through an obstacle course.

Students also had a chance to use their cell phones to text while navigating a shopping cart through an obstacle course.

“Car crashes have been the leading cause of death for 14-to-18 year olds for more than 30 years,” said Dubbs. “This is a winnable battle but one that can only be won through awareness and commitment building to safe driving habits for teens.”

Fields said that SADD Chapters in Indiana are trying to bring awareness about teen traffic safety issues during National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 20 through Oct. 26.

“We are tying our event in with Red Ribbon Week which begins on Oct. 23 as well,” said Fields.

Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness initiative held each October.

For hosting the event, the Barr-Reeve SADD Club will receive a $500 grant. “We try to do other events throughout the year as well,” said Fields. To help offset the cost of the events put on by the club, Barr-Reeve sells discount cards. “I feel like that keeping the kids busy with clean yet fun activities can help keep them out of trouble.”