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NWC Students Experience Dangers of Distracted Driving

Ryan Sands '15 attempts to text while driving a simulator. Submitted photo

The ‘Distracted Driving Program’ brought interactive simulators to West Hartford, where Northwest Catholic Students learned about the danger through video and a simulated experience. 

Submitted by Kimberly Sanders Spera, Director of Communications, Northwest Catholic High School

Ryan Sands '15 attempts to text while driving a simulator. Submitted photo

A Northwest Catholic student attempts to text while driving a simulator. Submitted photo

Northwest Catholic partnered with the Distracted Driving Program, a subsidiary of the National Save A Life Tour, for a special presentation to students on the dangers of distracted driving on Dec. 18, 2014. The presentation began with a school-wide assembly featuring videos of accident scenes and testimony from people who have been involved in distracted driving accidents – both distracted drivers who caused the accidents and families of victims who have been either killed or permanently injured in distracted driving accidents.

Throughout the the day, juniors and seniors used interactive simulators to experience firsthand what can happen when a person drives while distracted.

Using the simulators, students would drive through various locales, receiving a text message every 30 seconds that required an answer. According to the Save A Life Tour, it takes an average of 4.6 seconds to read and respond to a text message. Someone traveling at 55mph would travel about 100 yards – the length of a football field – in the time it takes to answer a text.

Most of the students found the simulators challenging, with many students crashing their vehicles during their test drive. Those students who did not crash frequently broke many traffic laws during their drive – running red lights or stop signs, swerving into oncoming traffic, or driving off the road onto the shoulder or sidewalks.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to educate our students in a very realistic and meaningful way about a behavior that is frequently deadly and often tragic,” said Academic Dean John Cusson. “Having the juniors and seniors actually experience in the simulator a loss of concentration which led to their inability to control their vehicle or have an accident really brought home the dangers of distracted driving.”

Students were also encouraged to sign a banner, pledging not to text and drive. The banner will be displayed in the school.

Since 1961, Northwest Catholic’s mission has been to educate the whole person: mind, body, spirit, and soul. Enrollment for the Class of ’19 is now under way, and prospective students are invited to the take the Entrance Exam at Northwest Catholic on January 24, 2015. For more information, contact Andrew Selig (860-236-4221, x140 or [email protected]).


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