FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 30, 2013 –
By Sarina Phoung and Tommy Rickard
River City High School Journalism Class
National Teen Driver Safety Week kicked off at River City High School last week with a visit from the Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) program, which is an educational program that travels to schools across the nation informing students about safe driving and the consequences of being a distracted driver.
River City’s driver education teacher, Shannon Woods, and her students worked with staff from ITD to host an event to raise awareness about distracted driving.
Students who attended the event learned that over 4,000 teens die and half a million injured every year in car accidents. Many of these accidents are caused when the driver is distracted. A cell phone, a passenger, loud music – anything that takes your focus off the road – can be detrimental to your well-being.
In order to enlighten underage drivers on how to avoid possible dangers, ITD encouraged students to be aware of the rules and regulations of the Graduated Driver Licensing program (GDL), which is a three-stage licensing system for future drivers who are under the age of 18. The logic behind the GDL is to allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before they get full driving privileges.
In California, new drivers under the age of 18 have certain restrictions under the GDL that include being allowed no passengers in their car for the first 12 months.
According to ITD, each passenger in a car increases the risk of an accident by 100 percent. They feel that if more teens knew the dangers of distracted driving, fatalities could possibly decrease.
The RCHS event included a short film and five stations that involved students interacting with possible threats while driving.
The short film at the beginning of the event detailed the life of 8th grader Hunter Clegg, whose life was cut short after a car accident that led to his death.
The collision occurred when Hunter and friends were distracting their seventeen year old driver, who only had his GDL and was illegally driving with passengers.
One of the speakers who made an appearance at the event was Hunter Clegg’s mother, Leeana Clegg. She spoke about her son’s death and told students, “His death was 100 percent preventable.”
“Simple decisions you make inside a car can change your life forever,” said Clegg.
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