Anti-texting campaign prompts students to safer driving

Carmel High students were introduced Oct. 23 to a new program called No Texting and Driving, which aims at combating the practice of teens texting behind the wheel.

“AT&T approached us,” activities director Leigh Cambra explained. “They are taking the texting and driving simulator around the country and chose Carmel High School as the only school in the Central Coast.”

In the No Texting and Driving simulator, students had the chance to have a somewhat real experience of what it is like to text and drive at the same time. A Fiat 500 was parked in front of school in which students sat behind the wheel and put on glasses that showed a demonstration of driving a street.

After a few seconds of trying the demonstration, the instructor told students to take out their phone and type a sentence to someone via telephone.

At the end of the activity, students were shown the results of how they did, such as how many stop signs they ran or how many people were hit while texting a simple sentence.

Around 90 students signed a poster board, which recognized their pledge not to text and drive.

Besides students attending the event, Carmel police officers and local firefighters also attended.

“Distracted driving…is the biggest killer of teens,” said Michael B. Calhoun, chief of the Carmel Police Department. “When you look at statistically and in the nation, one out of four accidents involves teens driving. That’s the highest of any other age category.”

An incident last November involving a female North Monterey County High School student showed locals the real dangers of texting and driving when she ran a stop sign and was hit by a truck and killed.
The event has helped some students, like junior Lavinia Faavesi, change their views on texting and driving.

“I see the situation from both points of view and how I can avoid car accidents by focusing more on the road than on a text message,” Faavesi said.

Senior Eddie Suazo added that after participating in the simulator program he would think twice before texting while driving because he has a better idea of what can happen.

-Katty Mendez