CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – No parent ever wants to see or hear about a crash involving their child on prom night, so local high school juniors and seniors got a sobering lesson on distracted driving.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and prom season is already in full swing. Local law enforcement wants teens to be safe on the roads, so they joined together on Monday to show students in the Valley the consequences of losing focus behind the wheel.
Students from six Valley schools watched a mock crash scene demonstration at the Canfield Fairground. The Mahoning County Safe Communities group and the Canfield Police Department provided the presentation.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in America for teens. Six out of 10 teen crashes involve distracted driving.
Lt. Eric Brown with Ohio State Highway Patrol says youthful drivers are at risk.
“They go through driver’s ed, they go through classes where they are told some of the consequences that can occur as a result of making poor decisions,” Brown said. “An event like today allows them to see firsthand the consequences of making those poor decisions.”
Students saw how victims look at a crash scene, and what happens when police and emergency crews arrive. They saw the arrest process of a suspected drunk driver.
Students also learned about different types of distracted driving, as well as the newer and tougher distracted driving law.
Brown says anything from adjusting the radio to reaching for something can be considered distracted driving.
“Anything that’s going to divert your attention from the roadway, it could be considered distracted driving,” Brown said.
With proms coming up, police say kids need to be aware of distracted driving dangers.
“Not driving impaired, not driving distracted, wearing their seatbelt. Just making sure that they’re making the right choices when they’re out and about on prom,” said Timothy Coler, school resource officer with the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.
Consequences of distracted driving go beyond people directly involved in a crash.
“Sometimes, these kids just think that they’re the only ones around and what they’re doing is only affecting them. But it can clearly affect other people,” Coler said. “Those consequences can’t be changed once they happen.”
Members of local law enforcement agencies hope to make a distracted driving dangers program for students, and they want to go directly to schools to talk about distracted driving.