Monday, Oct. 01 2012 8:55AM
‘It can wait’
Summit Technology Center students get lesson on texting and driving
By Toriano Porter
A 2009 Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study showed texting was the No. 1 mode of communication for teens – who text on average 60 times a day. The study also showed just one text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds.
It concluded, at 55 mph, those five seconds are akin to driving the length of a football field completely blind.
Such is life for teen drivers, some who took part in AT&T Home Solutions’ “It Can Wait” texting and driving simulator exhibit Sept. 25. More than 100 students from Summit Technology Academy participated in the exhibit on the company’s parking lot at 777 N.W. Blue Parkway.
“I already know texting and driving is bad,” said Summit Tech junior Coltin Shields, who admitted he still does it from time to time “That simulation really didn’t help me figure that out. I’ll probably do a lot less texting and driving.”
The simulator was part of AT&T’s “Texting and Driving…It Can Wait” program to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. Also on hand was a seat belt convincer exhibit offered by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that illustrated to participants the impact felt from not having a seat belt on in case of an accident.
That simulation registered only 5 mph upon impact.
“It was a fairly good jolt,” said Shawn Harrel, a digital media technology teacher at Summit Tech. “It really was a fairly significant jolt to where I think any of our kids that did that, and are thinking about not wearing a seat belt, will definitely make a decision to wear that.
Harrel added the exhibit was good for teen drivers ands adults alike.
“The importance of the message of not texting and driving (is) for everybody, not just kids,” Harrel said. “Although it’s geared toward kids, I need to remind myself of that all the time. Whether it’s at a stop light or whether it’s while I’m driving – I think we all have done it.”
“It Can Wait” is a national movement tapping into the power of social media and personal networks to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. It urges drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge not to text and drive, and share their pledge with others via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook.
It also offers a host of educational resources and information on the issue – including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.