Distracted driving program held at MHS

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amanda Williams, safety coordinator with Arkansas Farm Bureau, presented a program on distracted driving at Manila High School on Wednesday morning.

Amanda Williams, Farm Bureau safety coordinator.

Williams showed a video with four stories on how distracted driving had changed the lives of individuals and families.

She pointed out the dangers of texting while driving but stressed texting is not the only distraction.

"There is not a text worth losing your life," Williams said.

Statistics show teens are 23 times more apt to be involved in an accident if texting while driving. Sending or receiving text messages takes a driver's eyes off the road for four to six seconds.

There are more distractions than texting including cell phones, eating, talking, grooming, reading, watching videos, changing radio stations, etc.

Williams pointed out the number one killer of teenagers is distracted driving.

In 2009 there were 5,500 people killed in the United States from distracted driving.

Williams pointed out it is against the law in Arkansas to text and drive. She said it is against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to use hand-held phones for talking, texting, or emailing.

Williams asked for a show of hands of students who had been passengers with the driver texting.

"You should ask the driver to pull over before they text or let you drive," she said. "No text is so important it can't wait two minutes to pull off the highway. Don't be selfish. What happens to you affects your family and friends," she said.

Manila High School Principal Robin Baugher thanked Williams for speaking to the students.

"Ms. Williams asked how many of you have been a passenger with the driver texting," Baugher said. "How many of you have texted while driving? On Jan. 21, 2009, my sister was killed by a distracted teen driver. The young man who hit her and my family will never be the same. I want you to text as much as you want, just not at school and not while you are driving."

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  • I think this effort will help these young drivers get the message. It has to start with the end user, the driver...deciding not to partake in distracted driving and this will help drive that message home.

    I also decided to do something about teen (and adult) distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool for teens and their parents called OTTER that is a simple, GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner


    OTTER app

    -- Posted by ErikWood on Fri, Oct 14, 2011, at 9:08 PM
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