By Elizabeth Wulfhorst ||
RED BANK – With distracted driving month in full swing, members of Red Bank Catholic’s (RBC) Hot Topics Club are once again partnering with Sansone Jr’s 66 Automall to make sure people stay focused behind the wheel.
Every year the students produce a video to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving as part of their Just Drive campaign. That video is part of the project RBC will submit to the U Got Brains Champion Schools Program, a competition about teen driving safety presented by The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey. The program, open to high schools throughout New Jersey, challenges “teams of high school students from across the state to create safe driving campaigns that they promote to the students in their school and their communities,” according to the program’s website.
Three winners of the competition will each receive a Virtual Driver Interactive NDX306 driving simulator. In the simulator, students sit behind a wheel and utilize software that replicates driving in many different conditions, allowing them to learning firsthand how distractions can affect their driving.
The high schools’ campaigns are showcased in May at Six Flag’s Great Adventure where the projects will be judged and the winners chosen. For the past four years RBC has been a runner-up in the competition.
RBC kicked off their annual Battle of the Classes by previewing the video. To support the campaign and bring awareness to the issue, Battle of the Classes T-shirts were sold and class banners with distracted driving messages were hung, while driving-related music like “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys and “Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood filled the gym.
Since RBC seniors have been a part of the campaign for four years, senior English class students wrote editorials about the affect the Just Drive campaigns have had on them. Madison Duddy used her essay to point out how the campaign has made her aware of her own distracted driving and that of other drivers on the road.
“I have seen many people driving distracted, whether it be talking on the phone, texting, changing their Spotify or Pandora station, or doing many other meaningless activities,” she wrote. “Oddly enough, I find that I see more adults driving distracted than young adults and teens.” Duddy credits the campaign with teaching young drivers to remain attentive behind the wheel.
“While I am in the car, I always remember the great responsibility a driver has to stay focused to avoid accidents,” she wrote. She also acknowledged Uber and other services like it for giving young people an easy solution to not driving drunk.
According to the RBC Just Drive campaign, all drivers must be focused at the wheel, confident in their driving abilities, and brave enough to say “no” when they should not drive. All these things will ensure drivers arrive safely at their destination.
The campaign will continue throughout the month with parent pledges, sales of Just Drive car magnets, a bake sale, and speakers, including a lawyer and an insurance agent, both sharing their take on the dangers of distracted driving. During a “Throw Back Thursday” T-shirts from the past Just Drive campaigns will be sold at a bargain price.
This article was first published in the April 20-27, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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