At the event, 60 students participated in three activities and learned first-hand the drastic and unintended consequences that can come from just one text:
· Text and drive simulator: Students were given an opportunity to text while driving in a simulator, enabling them to experience how just a few seconds of distraction behind the wheel could have horrible consequences.
· Tricycle obstacle course: Students drove a tricycle through an obstacle course while texting, underscoring the difficulty of focusing on more than one thing while texting
· AT&T’s “The Last Text” documentary: Students watched this short documentary, which features stories of real individuals whose lives have been adversely affected by texting behind the wheel.
Before the event even started, I was talking to Ron (a camera guy from NBC who does the LNS). Ron is old school. He looked at me and said, "I just don't get it. I don't understand why people these days just don't pick up a phone and press the talk button." Being from a younger generation - I had no answer. None at all. That thought - of actually talking to someone - had never crossed my mind. It's just not what I (we - as a society) do.
While the event was targeted to the high school students, the information was relative to everyone. I, myself, am at fault for texting and driving. In fact, when Rodger Pulley of AT&T asked the students if they text and drive, few raised their hands (many were underclassmen and only held a driver's permit). But when Rodger asked if they had been in the car while their parents had been texting and driving, just about every student raised their hand.
Although the first two events were hands on, I felt that the most powerful of the three was the documentary. I sat in the classroom with the students and heard their gasps and sadness as they looked on. Simple distracted texts like "lol", and "where r u" had fatal consequences - and those consequences were not all on the behalf of the sender.
Take a few minutes and watch "The Last Text" and help spread the message of the dangers of texting while driving.