Distracted Driving Demos Keep Greenway Student Eyes Forward

By KBJR News 1

October 18, 2011 Updated Oct 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM CDT

COLERAINE, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---It's the number one cause of death in youth.

Nearly 1/4 of all distracted driving accidents happen to drivers between the ages of 15 and 19.

Students at Greenway High School got a realistic opportunity to understand firsthand the dangers of texting, drinking and distracted driving today.

The distracted driving demonstration comes almost two years to the date after an accident in Coleraine left one teen dead and two others in critical condition.

"Our goal is not to have a single high school student be a victim of a fatal car crash," Trooper, Jason Engeldinger of the Minnesota State Patrol said.

Students faced challenges including driving a golf cart along a course while texting, using their cell phones, or wearing goggles to simulate being drunk.

"Everything was moving side to side, back and forth, like everything felt farther away and then got closer," Sophomore, Anthony Hill said.

They also got behind the wheel of the Minnesota State Patrol's driving simulator.

"It was like hard because I was like loosing control of the road, like someone was talking to me and I don't like when people talk to me when I'm driving," Sophomore, Ashley Swedeen said. "And that, and then with texting, it was like whoa, I can't see the road."

"When your not focusing you don't get the full vision of what's on your left or right while driving," Junior, Madison Hynek said.

Authorities say the program has already delivered results.

"Greenway High School, where we are at today, started with a 63 percent seat belt compliance in 2009 and we are currently sustained at 87 percent seat belt compliance," Trooper Engeldinger said.

Students say the simulations left a lasting impression and will help them remember to keep their eyes forward.

"Its making me think, what would have happened if I was on the real road," Sophomore, Codie Perry said.

Distracted driving is the number one cause of two-car crashes in Minnesota.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch