The focus of the campaign being funded by a state grant is about motorists having their eyes on the road at all times.
Traffic signs and a blinking traffic signal greet students and visitors as they enter the high school’s rotunda. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a simulated distracted course as part of the campaign.
Dennis Threadgill, coordinator of the school's Performing Arts Center, secured the $2,000 grant for the program. He said the campaign will spread throughout the community by the end of February, and well it should.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all know that texting and phoning while driving can cause accidents. We all realize the dangers of driving drunk, but many researchers believe using the phone while driving is as serious or even more troublesome.
While the campaign aims at safe driving, Threadgill said it’s also about being a responsible passenger. He encourages passengers to text or call for the driver, and remind drivers to not operate a phone or even adjust the radio while driving.
If a call is so important, Threadgill said, drivers should pull into a parking lot before using a device.
Coincidentally, Gov. Rick Snyder signed "Kelsey's Law" last week that prohibits teens with a Level 1 or 2 driver's license from using a cellphone while driving. Level 1 licensees must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or another driver at least 21 years old. A Level 2 license allows a teen to drive alone, but with limits on hours and young passengers.
The law is named for Kelsey Raffaele, a 17-year-old from the Upper Peninsula who was killed in a crash while chatting on her cellphone.
Many states, including Michigan, have outlawed texting while driving, and many have banned phoning. While hands-free phoning is allowed in some of the states that banned hand-held phoning, it is still distracting.
Texting not only takes the driver’s eyes off the road, it too is a mental distraction.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a ban on all phones while driving — talking or texting, handheld or hands-free. It seems like a reasonable request, given the grave nature of the problem.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is the No. 1 killer of American teens. In 2010, more than 3,000 deaths and 416,000 injuries on U.S. highways were traced to distracted driving, including texting.
For young drivers ages 16 to 24, it’s a severe case of denial. A national survey showed that 60 percent of the drivers in that age group admitted to texting while driving.
This is potentially lethal behavior. Studies show that a driver who takes his or her eyes off the road for two seconds raises the risk of a potentially horrific accident.
We commend Grand Haven High School for starting this campaign, and we encourage young and old alike to listen up. Keep your eyes on the road and your mind on driving.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.