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Teens Educated on Dangers of Distracted Driving

Woodbury students

Nonnewaug High School 11th graders (from left) Stephanie Lewis, Allie Caselli, and Hannah McCollom were instrumental in designing a distracted driving video contest for their peers.

It’s a simple but important message—don’t text and drive.

And it’s the center of a new distracted driving campaign that kicked off today at TheaterWorks in Hartford, aimed at educating teens about the dangers of texting and driving.

Governor Malloy proclaimed today no texting and driving day in Connecticut, telling teens to “put down the phone and stop texting.”

The Governor reported sobering statistics—more than 70 people are killed in Connecticut and another 7,000 are injured each year due to distracted driving.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “As teachers, we care about the well-being of our students, and we want to educate them on the dangers of texting and driving. This campaign will promote the education of responsible driving behavior to teens and impress on them the importance of driving safely without distractions to keep them and others on the road safe from harm. Raising awareness and educating students about this preventable tragedy are key to saving them.”

CEA joined the governor, Attorney General George Jepsen, members of the Connecticut Departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, AFT-CT, and corporate sponsors to raise awareness of the dangers, and encourage everyone to immediately take the pledge against texting and driving at www.itcanwait.com.

The program will visit schools in East Hartford, Manchester, Middletown, and Durham over the next week and will include a distracted driving video contest.

Three 11th grade students from Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury are part of the Department of Motor Vehicles Teen Advisory Council and were instrumental in designing the contest.

Stephanie Lewis, Allie Caselli, and Hannah McCollom said it’s an important message that can save lives.

Caselli said, “Teens should pay more attention to the video message because it involves teens talking to teens, and that’s more effective than being lectured to by parents.”

The campaign will also focus on a new documentary “From One Second to the Next,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog. The documentary focuses on the aftermath of texting and driving, told through the stories of people whose one second of inattention caused fatal crashes—delivering the message—no text is worth a life.

You can watch the documentary below.

Added Sept. 20, 2013

At the campaign’s first stop in East Hartford, high school teachers were very positive about the program. East Hartford Education Association President Paul Apostalon said, “I think it’s a great program. You could hear a pin drop when the students were watching the documentary. The message really seemed to be getting through to the kids.”

Social studies teacher Todd Szwed said, “All the kids here are going to be driving soon, if they’re not already. The video does a good job of showing the consequences of texting and driving. It’s just not worth it.”

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