Students Want Distracted Driving Deaths Halted

Canadian Valley Technology Center students Justice Winters, of Chickasha, Hope Morrill, of Tuttle, and Zoe Blue, of Chickasha, want to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving deaths in Oklahoma. The young ladies attended a motivational conference last week in Shawnee aimed at reversing the deadly trend. Not pictured is Desaray Hayes, of Chickasha.

September 26, 2016

CHICKASHA – A group of young ladies at Canadian Valley Technology Center has banded together in taking a pledge and issuing an ensuing challenge to peers.

The pledge is part of the Oklahoma Challenge Project that intends to snuff out a dangerous practice resulting in eight deaths daily in the U.S., according to information supplied by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

It’s food for thought when people consider reaching for a cell phone when hearing a text chime or when they eat or drink behind the wheel. Deaths have also been attributed very recently to the popular game Pokémon Go, prompting the “catch” phrase by law enforcement, “Don’t Catch and Drive.”

Distracted driving results in more than 3,300 preventable deaths per year on average. Nearly one in five vehicle crashes results in someone being injured when the accident involves distracted driving, according to data supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Student leaders at CV Tech are motivated to educate their peers after attending a distracted driving conference last week in Shawnee as part of their involvement in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

The national student organization helps students become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through CareerTech’s Family and Consumer Sciences Education courses.

The four students are enrolled in CV Tech’s Early Care and Education program, which is taught by Mary Beth Carver of Chickasha. They are Hope Morrill, of Tuttle, and Justice Winters, Zoe Blue, and Desaray Hayes, all of Chickasha.

“Our students want to put an end to traffic crashes being the number one cause of death for people under age 24,” Carver said.

Statistics supplied by the Oklahoma Safety Council show traffic crashes account for 44 percent of all teen deaths.

Dr. Richard Coberg, founder of the Oklahoma Challenge Project, offers the solution.

“Research shows young people are the solution to this issue,” he said. "We are proud to be working with Oklahoma's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to bring that solution to our state.”

During the conference the FCCLA students developed a plan to raise awareness and change behavior around the issue of distracted driving.  The students also learned about state law, which carries a $100 fine for texting motorists.