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Young drivers at Keystone get eye-opening look at distracted driving

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    Oberlin school resource officer Billie Neadham, left, stands with Keystone High School students (from left) Jenna Manning, Harrison Stanic and Dyney Campbell and Keystone school resource officer Mark Turner. Keystone students were given red thumb bands by Nissan to wear as a reminder to keep their hands off the phone while driving.

    MELISSA LINEBRINK / CHRONICLE

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LAGRANGE — The roads are full of distractions for young drivers.

On Thursday, students at Keystone High School received a crash course in how to deal with those distractions with the help of an interactive driving program provided by the Lorain County Safety Coalition.

It is the first program of its kind to be introduced to students in Lorain County, and Keystone was the first high school to use it.

The main initiative, according to Keystone Schools Resource Officer Mark Turner, was to show the students the dangers of distracted driving.

“I wanted the students to know that kids, like themselves, are getting killed every day from driving distractions,” Turner said.

Turner, who walks the halls of all three Keystone Schools, said over time he has formed positive bonds with the students and the last thing he wants to see is one of them involved in a motor-vehicle crash.

“I love the kids and I don’t want to see them get hurt,” Turner said.

The program, presented by ThinkFast Interactive, provided insight in an educational and exciting way to show that it takes just seconds for a driver to become distracted.

Throughout the hourlong program, students sat in groups and, using wireless remote controls, answered trivia questions related to driving.

From start to finish, the message of prevention, responsibility and awareness was reinforced.

But it’s the way the program was delivered by ThinkFast Interactive is what had the students at Keystone talking long after the presentation was over.

Current music blasted through speakers as two monitors displayed trivia questions and other facts about driving.

And even though many knew of the major distractions, it didn’t register how dangerous their acts were until after the program. Some of the distractions include music, cell phones, other passengers and even daydreaming.

Keystone High School senior Erin Leydig, 17, said she was entertained throughout the entire program.

“I was shocked to learn that most accidents are caused by daydreaming,” she said.

She also admitted that sitting through the ThinkFast Interactive program at her high school was more exciting and educational than her driver’s education courses before she received her driver’s license.

Classmate Hannah Posey, 17, also a senior, said her mind was blown when she learned that 29 people in the United States die every day from drunk driving.

Hannah admitted that when the prompter told of the many driving distractions, that she too has fallen victim to a few of them.

“We all get distracted,” she said. “But, I am going to wear my red thumb now when I drive so I am reminded to not be distracted.”

Red thumb bands were given to the students courtesy of Nissan to wear as a reminder to keep their hands off their phone while driving. They were then asked to join Nissan and the Red Thumb Movement in their ongoing commitment to reduce fatalities on the road.

“I see the students every day, all day, in the halls and I want to do everything I can for them to teach them about driving safe,” Turner said.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.


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