South Putnam High School announced recently through its Interact Club the school has joined the Movement to Educate Teen Drivers About the Dangers of Texting and Driving to Help Save Students Lives.
The school joined the movement, sponsored by Scorpion of Greencastle, in an effort to try and save teen lives.
"We all know that texting while driving is distracting, but that doesn't stop most young people from continuing to do it," South Putnam Interact Club faculty adviser Elaine Bye said. "The effort is intended to educate our students about the dangers of cell phone use, especially texting while driving."
The campaign will begin each morning with facts about texting and driving. Students will also receive anti-texting and driving thumb bands to remind them of the dangers of being on a phone while driving. There will also be videos, posters, and handouts along with pledges for students.
In 2009 almost 5,500 lives were lost and nearly 450,000 people were injured from distracted drivers. According to a study done by Carnegie Mellon, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
"We especially want to reach out to the parents of teen drivers and younger drivers because we know that statistically, the under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes," Bye said.
Texting is especially dangerous as it involves three types of distraction, visual, manual and cognitive.
According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who text while driving take their eyes off the road for an average of almost five seconds at a time. At 55 mph, that is the same as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
South Putnam High School is aiming its focus on changing the behavior of student drivers as well as encouraging students to share the message with their family and friends.
The anti-texting and driving effort will focus on ways to change the behavior through awareness and education, the same activities that have helped curb drunk driving and increased seat belt use among teens.
For more information about distracted driving, persons can visit www.textinganddrivingsaftey.com or contact Elaine Bye at South Putnam High School.