The students of high schools throughout Natrona County really listened to the no-texting-and-driving message.
We started the 2013 “It Can Wait Drive 4 Pledges” week off with Natrona County High School’s mostly ninth- and 10th-graders during their 90-minute PE class early Monday morning. I was really impressed at how attentive the students were as we showed the 34-minute AT&T “From One Second to the Next” video. With over 100 students in the auditorium at each session, you could not hear a pin drop. It is a very moving and impactful video to stress to viewers the importance of paying attention to their driving and putting their phones away or letting a passenger text or call for the driver.
The students really liked the hands-on activities. Driving the simulator while texting or just driving showed how impaired they really were. Many of these students just received their learner’s permits or were soon to get them. These new drivers are the exact age group we wanted to reach as they are the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.
In talking to the students during the activities I was encouraged by their responses to “are you going to text and drive?” They always said no and stated they learned a lot today. One student said he used to do it but quit after his friend got in an accident and broke his legs.
The total attendance at NC’s event was 334.
Tuesday we presented at Roosevelt High School for 100 students and teachers. Again the audience was fully engaged in the video. One of the teachers said that any time you can get this group of students quietly watching a video is totally awesome. After the video the students all enjoyed the hands on activities. One of the students was asked how she liked the assembly and she said, “It was great – I loved all of it.”
Another teacher pointed out that the visual means everything for this young generation. They understood how texting can really impact someone’s life because of the video.
Many were able to try the driving simulator while texting and they all really got into that activity. It is so rewarding to see what an impact we can do to bring the message to the students.
We traveled a bit out of the way to make a stop at Midwest School, which serves the small communities of Midwest and Edgerton. We wanted to make it special for them being so far out of town, so we pulled the crashed texting car up there for them to check out. Over 100 students attended. The younger group was not quite into driving yet but we still got the message to them. The students actually listened and did not text and drive so it took longer for them to make a mistake or crash in the driving simulator.
We finished our texting events at Kelly Walsh High School during lunch periods on Thursday with 712 students attending. They enjoyed the hands-on activities as well. One student named Jonas came up to me and said, “Ma’am, thank you very much for everything today. This program and other ones are going to save lives.” This was a great comment coming from a student.
The video contained more messages than just the no texting and driving so many students related in different ways to it. Rachel Hauglid from PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) heard from a friend that her daughter attended one session at Natrona County High School and came home that night and raved about the event and all she learned. It was nice to hear the feedback so quickly. One of our partners, Jake Black from Casper Fire EMS, said that after the last presentation that he felt Safe Communities took the texting event to a higher level this year and was very happy with the turnout.
Thanks to AT&T, American National Insurance, Casper Fire/EMS, Casper Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, PARTY, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Evansville Fire/EMS, Midwest Police Department and Fire/EMS and WMC Safe Communities for the great collaboration for these events!
I am not a clinical person. I am not a teacher. It is very rewarding to see that you can make an impact on people by what message you deliver. We truly touched lives.