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CHS ‘UNITE’s against texting and driving

Posted: September 27, 2013 5:06 p.m.
Updated: September 30, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Miciah Bennett/C-I

Camden High School student Morgan Davis tests what it’s like to drive intoxicated Friday in UNITE International’s 2013 Arrive Alive Tour. Arrive Alive travels to high schools and colleges throughout the country to show students the dangers of using electronics while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

For the second time this year, Camden High School teamed up with UNITE International’s Arrive Alive Tour to inform teens about the dangers of drinking -- and texting -- and driving.

Friday, Arrive Alive gave students a chance to see first-hand what it’s like to drive impaired or distracted. In the drinking and driving stimulation, students’ “reaction” and hand/eye coordination is slowed. For texting simulations, students were asked to pull out their cell phone and text while performing the simulation. Students wear goggles to experience what it’s like driving intoxicated, but Arrive Alive has a large screen set up to let other students what the driver is seeing. On another screen, Arrive Alive repeatedly showed a distracted driving video, showing students the dangers of distracted and intoxicated driving. 

Morgan Davis, 16, said she’s never been in an alcohol-related accident, but knows people who have.

“People think it can’t happen to them,” she said.

Drivers under 20 years of age have the highest number of “distraction-related” incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, UNITE said. The tour visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.

“The simulator allows students to experience, in a controlled environment, the potential consequences of drunk and distracted driving,” according to Unite press release.

Morgan said she hopes that participating in the simulation will deter students from using their cell phone while driving or drinking and driving in the future. Texting and driving has become an epidemic, Gabrielle Mills, 16, said. Gabrielle was confident that students will still text and drive after the simulation, but said she’s glad students could get a glimpse of the dangers.

Hannah Moore and Sarah Anne Semple, both 16, said they don’t text and drive. Sarah Anne said she got into an accident with a family member who was texting and driving. Students don’t understand the dangers associated with texting and driving and she is very likely to tell someone whose car she’s in not to text and drive, she said.  

All students were given “citations” for their impaired driving that listed statistics and information on the back. Arrive Alive’s Tyler Herbstreith said people are six times more likely to get into an accident texting and driving than a DUI-related accident.

“It’s an eye opener,” Herbstreith said. “People look past texting and driving because it’s new. Most people are aware of the dangers of alcohol related driving incidents.”

Herbsreith said Arrive Alive Tour employees can’t make decisions for drivers, but they can help them to understand the dangers of driving recklessly. Students are given a pledge card that can go on their key ring with their photo on it after their stimulation to help remind them of what they learned during the stimulation, he said. The card says, “I pledge to drive Sober And Free of Electronics (SAFE).”

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