The CDC reports that every day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. No one should experience the tragedy of a car accident, but unfortunately, the number of deaths and injuries as result of distracted driving rise each year, leaving a painful impact on schools, families, and communities.
For example, Amanda C., an Oakdale teen, survived one crash while texting and driving, but not a similar crash a year later. Natalia S., a San Jose teen, lost her life when the inexperienced driver of the car she was in, whose graduated license prohibited having other minors in the car, crashed. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Donovan T. of the Fresno area was killed instantly when the car he was riding in lost control and slammed into an orchard. Two other teens were severely injured in the crash, which was blamed on inattentive fast driving.
California Casualty, an ACSA partner, hopes to make serious gains in preventing distracted driving, which is, in fact, the top killer of teens in America, and helped found the nonprofit Impact Teen Drivers in 2007. The company helps support the Create Real Impact contest, which urges students to enter works of music, writing, art, and video to spread safe driving messages to fellow students. Since its inception, Impact Teen Drivers has reached over two million teens.
“The importance of this contest can’t be overstated,” said California Casualty CEO Beau Brown. “While insurance can replace a mangled vehicle, we can’t replace a teenager’s life. In a split second, everything for that family changes forever; it’s a terrible tragedy that no one should endure.”
Here are a few ways to promote safe driving to a student as an administrator.
- Check out California Casualty’s online resources, such as the 10 Step Guide for teens, a tutorial on how to engage teens, including two-way dialogue about distracted driving. It is a great tool for anyone who is eager to address reckless and distracted driving and can adapt to fit different styles of teaching.
- Use existing techniques and lesson plans to continually update your school’s teaching methods and assemblies on the topic of distracted driving. Distracted driving includes eating, putting on makeup, reaching for things inside the car, talking to friends, and looking at things from the window while the vehicle is moving.
- Make sure that your students are familiar with California state laws: For the most part, drivers who are at least 18 years old are allowed to use hands-free phones while driving. These drivers can use a Bluetooth or other earpieces, but cannot cover both ears. The law also allows drivers 18 or older to use the speakerphone function. The law is more restrictive for drivers who are under 18. These underage drivers cannot use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop, or any other electronic communication device (handheld or hands-free) to either speak or text while driving. The only exception is for using a wireless device in an emergency situation to call the police, fire, or medical personnel.
- When communicating with parents and community members, emphasize your focus on this issue. Consider establishing goals for keeping track of and reducing cases of distracted driving in your community by including parents in the education process with resources like these and these.
Make safe driving a community-wide campaign, encouraging local businesses and stakeholders to participate, share their knowledge, come to an event on the topic, or donate to a night where parents and students sign a safe driving pledge.
To learn more about California Casualty, or to request an auto insurance quote, please visit www.calcas.com or call 1-800-800-9410.
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