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Encina students take a stand against distracted driving

Encina students take a stand against distracted driving

If you were to pass through Encina Preparatory High School on April 22, you may have stumbled upon students with decorated thumbs navigating through a series of activities. Upon closer inspection, you would find that their adorned thumbs serve as a lighthearted yet poignant reminder to drive distraction-free.

Encina partnered with Impact Teen Drivers, California Highway Patrol and UC Davis Health to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. This gathering began with opening remarks from each of these partners, all of whom shared the devastating impact that distracted driving can bring on victims, families and communities.

“Distracted driving is the number one cause of death amongst teens,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, executive director of Impact Teen Drivers.

Addressing the crowd of students directly, Browning said, “I truly believe that your generation will be the generation that lowers the statistics of distracted driving, and car accidents due to distracted driving.”

After the keynote speakers concluded, students were split into groups to complete a variety of different activities geared towards educating students about the dangers of distracted driving, and how students can be safer drivers on the road. Student participated in:

  • A seatbelt race, where teams were timed on how fast they could get in a car, buckle their seatbelt, unbuckle their seatbelt and step outside of the car. This activity demonstrated how easy and quick it is to perform the potentially life-saving act of buckling up.
  • A visually distorted obstacle course, where students wore vision-altering goggles that simulated vision at 0.08% blood alcohol content. These goggles demonstrate what your brain experiences while driving distracted.
  • A thumb decoration activity, where students decorated their thumbs as a reminder to keep their thumbs text-free and to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
  • A prize wheel, where students answer road safety trivia questions for a plethora of prizes.
  • A multitasking game, where participants were asked trivia questions while attempting to throw color-coordinated pouches onto the matching color on the Twister mat. This activity pointed to the difficulty of multitasking, and how drivers should not multitask while operating a vehicle.
  • Students were also given an opportunity to write reasons why they should not drive distracted. These messages were written in chalk on the front sidewalk of the school.

While students had fun participating in these activities, the message against distracted driving was received loud and clear. For 11th-grade student, Victoria Barajas, this event served as another reminder to keep all eyes on the road when driving.

“One of my family members was in a crash recently, and it was scary. I’m glad that [my classmates] can see how [distracted driving] can change your life,” said Barajas.