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BEA students learn valuable lesson

By Staff | Sep 30, 2012

The message was received, loud and clear:?”DNT TXT N DRV.”

Blue Earth Area High School held a seminar last Tuesday to try to put an end to the danger of distracted driving by asking students to pledge against texting behind the wheel.

BEA partnered with Patton Funeral Home and State Farm Insurance to bring the movement against texting and driving to local high schoolers.

One teenager held up a sign showing the word “Yeah,”?the one-word message that was sent as the car he was in crashed into a tree.

This was a clip from a short, yet moving video shown to students at the beginning of the seminar. The video showed real life situations in which a one-word text message changed these drivers’ lives forever.

The teenager was the passenger of a car and was pronounced dead on the scene three times and lived to tell about it.

Faribault County Deputy Shane Dulac spoke to the students about the dangers of texting shown in the video.

“He made it out alive but you may not be that lucky”?he says. “We don’t want the next call your parents make to be to the funeral home.”

The pledge the students are encouraged to sign, reminds them that texting and driving not only endangers themselves but their passengers and everyone else on the road.

Dawn Kennedy of Patton Funeral Home in Blue Earth has had the idea to bring the seminar to the school for some time now. Kennedy’s son recently turned 16 years old, making the message of the campaign more relevant to her.

“He’s going to be out on the road and so are all of his friends,”?Kennedy says.

She has noticed many students who leave the school and take their hands off of the steering wheel to reach for their cell phones.

“It’s a real danger,”?she adds. “They’re not drinking and driving, they’re texting and it’s just as dangerous.”

The pledge also states that when students are texting and driving it’s the equivalent of having four beers and getting behind the wheel.

Texting and driving is a problem at a national level and has inspired television advertisements and public service announcements (PSA).

“We had made PSAs and they were played here on KBEW,”?Kennedy says.

The PSAs were just one effort in this week-long campaign that Kennedy had planned to promote the pledge against texting and driving.

The students will also receive texting bands. The bands are worn on thumbs as a visual reminder to refrain from texting while driving.

Dulac offered the students advice during the seminar on other ways they can avoid the texting temptation.

“Throw the phone in the backseat or put it in the trunk,” he suggests.

If students keep the phone out of sight and out of reach the urge to text is eliminated.

After the seminar, members of the BEA?Student Council and Peer Helpers groups stood with local law enforcement at the parking lot exits at the high school.

The students handed out cards reminding drivers of the no texting pledge as they left the school.

The campaign also involved a poster contest and a pledge contest.

“We had already gotten 26 posters by Tuesday,”?Kennedy says. “That was only two days into the campaign.”

The winners of the contests were announced at halftime of the homecoming football game on Friday.

After the first run of the campaign at BEA, Kennedy is sure it will return for the students.

“This campaign is something that needs to be done,”?she adds. “Texting and driving is an issue that will not be going away anytime soon.”