A group of Edsel Ford High School students are delivering an urgent message, but it’s not one they want their fellow students to pick up when they’re behind the wheel.
The Link Crew, a group of juniors and seniors who help others adjust to high school, have been reminding students of the dangers of distracted driving, but on Tuesday, they took their message to a larger crowd, the Press & Guide reports.
A driving simulator at the basketball game against Garden Center gave students and community members alike a startling insight into what’ it’s like to drive while distracted – whether by cell phones, alcohol or other means.
The simulator was on loan from Strive for a Safer Drive, which works with AAA, Ford Driving Skills for Life, and the Office for Highway Safety Planning. For the past three years, the Link Crew has received a $2,000 grant from AAA and Ford to promote safer driving.
“This is a way of targeting the community, instead of just the school,” said senior Hadeel Haidar, who spoke about the dangers of distracted driving during halftime of the varsity game.
She said more than 3,000 teens a year – the largest group affected by distracted driving – die as a result of talking or texting on their cell phones and engaging in other practices that distract them from the roadway. Their risk is quadrupled if they use a cellphone while driving, she said.
The Link Crew staged a signup table and asked parents and adults, who some of the students said were also guilty of checking social media and phone messages while driving, to sign a pledge against texting and driving.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says drivers spend more than half their time focused on things other than driving. Distraction contributes to more than 5,000 traffic fatalities annually. Besides texting and making phone calls and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, other distractions include eating and adjusting in-car technologies.