Thursday, September 26, 2013
Every year there are fatalities caused by distracted drivers of all ages, and, for some students of North Augusta High School, this fact is unacceptable.
North Augusta High School students took time during lunch on Sept. 19 to pledge to not text and drive in hopes of preventing distracted driving.
Haley Highland, 18, said this campaign is vital for drivers because safety should be peoples’ main concern.
“It’s important because if you’re texting and driving, you’re taking your eyes off the road for a matter of three seconds to five seconds just reading it, and then you have to reply,” Highland said. “That can cause you to get into an accident, cause you to swerve or cause someone else to hit you. It’s just better for your safety, and other peoples’ safety, if you don’t text and drive.”
The students were led by Future Business Leaders of America adviser Stephanie Ramey, who felt this cause needed to be addressed.
“This is our FBLA partnership with business project,” Ramey said. “We always take on a community issue, and we felt texting and driving is becoming a crisis in America. The kids need to be aware that if they continue to text and drive, there’s a 62 percent chance an accident will happen.”
During the Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee, the school will try to get students and parents to sign up as well take the pledge. This will go into the prom rally in May where the school will be holding a big event.
For the student volunteers, the cause really hit home because many of them can recall times when their own friends have been involved with distracted driving.
“I realized how common texting and driving is, and everybody does it and it’s really dangerous,” Serenity Edwards, 16, said. “We need to make it a big thing to not do it because it can end lives. It’s a common killer. My friends have hit curbs and mailboxes and things just from distracted driving and texting.”
Edwards said she believes the campaign is important and should not be taken lightly by anyone involved.
“I don’t think you should take the pledge if you’re not serious about it, because this is serious,” Edwards said. “If you’re texting someone and then you need to drive, tell them, ‘I’ll text you back in 10 minutes; I’m about to drive.’ They can wait.”
Melanie Chavous, the school’s resource officer, said she knows texting and driving is a topic that needs to be brought to light, and she is happy the students feel the same.
“We have a lot of accidents and fatalities, and a lot of these could be avoided if people wouldn’t text and drive,” Chavous said. “They’re mostly all types of inattention: texting, eating, talking on the phone. Obviously with social media, people are using their phones a lot more. It seems like we have good student support, and it makes us feel good that they are taking the pledge and we hope that when they take the pledge, they’re true to it. It means they’re saving lives.”
Heather Wright is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. She is a North Augusta resident and earned a degree in communications from USC Aiken.