Students schooled in driving dangers

Senior Brianna Tschida takes the “Arrive Alive” texting and driving test on Friday at TCU High School. (Wade Young Photo)

 

In 2009, 450,000 car accidents were due to texting/distracted driving. 
 
TCU high school students heard this sobering statistic, along with many others, at the “Arrive Alive” tour that pulled into Montgomery on Friday. The event ended the school’s safety week, held before the TCU Prom this Saturday.
 
That number, and some high-tech equipment, drove home the point that drinking and driving, and texting and driving cause accidents and kills people.
 
Helping students experience that was a car with a simulator that put them in real-life, worst-case experiences. In the test, students strapped on goggles, jumped in the driver’s seat, and “drove” while texting or under the influence of alcohol.
 
Each drivers’ horrific results also played out for their audience on a large computer screen outside of the car. 
The driving results were tragic: pedestrian deaths, lane swerving, speeding, and many, many vehicle accidents. 
 
Before she took the test, senior Katelyn Loftus chose the drunk driving test. While she was trying to drive normally, “Arrive Alive’s” Tyler Herbsterich gave her the play-by-play results as he monitored them outside the car: 
Katelyn: “I’m a good driver.”
Tyler: “You think you are because you’re drunk right now.”
Tyler: “You just ran into a parked car.”
Katelyn: “This is so hard! I just blew it.”
Tyler: “Um, you just ran into a tree.”
Fellow senior Brianna Tschida took the texting test. Using her cell phone, she attempted to drive and send normal text messages. Her results were just as bad as Loftus’. While she was texting Brianna was speeding 32
percent of the time, and went off road one percent of the time. 
 
“It was really hard to do (drive normally),” she said.
 
Did the test sink in? Tschida said yes and said people don’t need to worry about her because she doesn’t have a car, and when she drives, she gives her phone to her mom. 
 
What else did Brianna learn from viewing other students’ results?
 
“I learned never to get in the car with someone who’s been drinking,” she said. 
After each driver finished their test, “Arrive Alive’s” Patrick Sheehy handed fake citations, explaining how much it would cost them in real life, and a key chain with a photograph of them taking the test.  
 
Facts
Q:   Texting and Driving or Drinking and Driving?
A:   Texting because your eyes are not on the road. You are driving blindly. For every letter texted, it is 3 to 4 seconds attention off the road.
 
Q:   What percent of your brain activity does it take to send a text?
A:   60%
 
Fact: In June, 2011, more than 196 billion text message were send/received in the U.S. along. This is up 50% from June, 2009.
 
Fact: Using a cell phone while driving, whether hands-free or hand-held, delays drivers’ reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level of .08.
 
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety AdministrationQ:   Texting and Driving or Drinking and Driving?
A:   Texting because your eyes are not on the road. You are driving blindly. For every letter texted, it is 3 to 4 seconds attention off the road.
 
Q:   What percent of your brain activity does it take to send a text?
A:   60%
 
Fact: In June, 2011, more than 196 billion text message were send/received in the U.S. along. This is up 50% from June, 2009.
 
Fact: Using a cell phone while driving, whether hands-free or hand-held, delays drivers’ reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level of .08.
 
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration