Forest Park, IL...
Students at Proviso Math and Science Academy got a lesson in the dangers of texting while driving and drinking and driving recently, thanks to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s Youth Services Department held a series of hands-on demonstration at PMSA on April 12 that helped students learn more about how dangerous distracted driving can be. With the use of simulators and other tools, the students became more aware of those dangers.
"Kids think they’re invincible," said Ms. Jennifer Stompor, a PMSA math teacher and senior class sponsor who helped coordinate the seminar. "It’s a quick 40-minute seminar on drunk driving. It’s a time in their lives with prom and graduation parties where they need to be aware of what can happen."
Ms. Kim Echols, principal at PMSA, agreed with the timing and benefits of the seminar.
"On an annual basis we like to educate our students about the dangers associated with drinking and driving," she said. "Our goal is to take proactive measures to empower our students to make wise decisions. We want our students to enjoy the end of the year festivities and to know that they can have fun without alcohol or by giving in to peer pressure. The presentation is very informative and is a cost effective method of sending a powerful message."
During the seminar, students could get behind the wheel of a driving simulator and try to drive while texting. They also could drive a golf cart in the parking lot, try to walk a straight line, or catch a ball while wearing vision impairment goggles ("beer goggles").
Yvie Simmons, 18 and a senior, said that she had to make adjustments while driving the golf cart while wearing the goggles.
"The goggles made your vision slant to the left," she said. "You had to turn differently."
Noe Ramirez, 18 and a senior, tried to drive on the simulator while texting. He crashed into various objects during his run.
"It was pretty interesting," he said. "I learned I shouldn’t drive and text at the same time."
Dan Canavan, an officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s Youth Services Department, said that the seminar has caused some awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.
"It’s been good because I’ve had a couple of kids say they don’t ever answer their phone while driving," he said. "That’s good to hear."