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Driving the point home

Officials, fire department say message getting through to students

Julia Halburion, a junior at Colonie Central High School, learns how hard it is to drive while sending a text message on her phone. This was part of Ford’s Driving Skills For Life Program at Colonie Central High School on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Julia Halburion, a junior at Colonie Central High School, learns how hard it is to drive while sending a text message on her phone. This was part of Ford’s Driving Skills For Life Program at Colonie Central High School on Thursday, Oct. 13. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— “They can text and drive,” he said. “The biggest reason you think you can do it is because you’ve done it. You’ve gone from point A to point B without getting killed while texting or talking on the phone, so you’ve had success doing that. And you’ll have success doing that over and over again. There will be one time you don’t have success and you will kill yourself or your friends or somebody else and you’ll go, ‘I didn’t mean it.’ Was that text really that important that you took out somebody’s family?”

One of Deweese’s fears is that what the students learn during these demonstrations will only stick with them for the next month. Some of the kids, though, said going through the course has opened their eyes to just how bad they are at driving while trying to send a text.

Julia Halburian, a junior at the high school, got a chance to drive while trying to text. In the car were three other individuals, including an instructor from the DSFL program. He first told her to drive around the course without any texting. The problem was, he continued to talk to her about country music, shifting her focus from the road to the conversation. Halburian ended up turning left at a sign that said right turn only.

“I found texting and driving to be the most difficult one,” said Brendan Jeffers, a junior at Colonie High school, who went through all three of the courses.

Some students said that they had never texted while driving, including Halburian. After driving through the obstacle course, though, she said it made her more aware of the dangers of texting and driving.

“It’s an eye opener,” she said.

Assistant Principal Tim Nicholson said that the school felt it was important to invite all of the students to the presentation held that day and that it is important the school shows it cares for the students even when they are not at school. This is also a means to plant the seed in their heads early about the dangers of drunk driving and texting while driving.

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