Thanks to Christy Reis, Jeremiah Gentle and Amelia White for an awesome presentation to 900 Edison High School students. In addition to using the GentXt Power Point, they grabbed the attention of a packed auditorium with head lights on stage, the sound of texting and a loud crash in a darkened room!
Edison High students urge others not to text and drive
Edison students Amelia White, 16, and Christy Reis, 16, present the Crime Commission’s Generation tXt program at Edison High School on Tuesday. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
By KIM ARCHER World Staff WriterPublished: 12/14/2011 2:27 AM Last Modified: 12/14/2011 8:21 AM
A three-letter text message can change lives forever.
On Tuesday, student members of Generation tXt urged Edison High School students not to text while driving.
“It’s easy to look down just a second and you’re in the other lane,” said Jeremiah Gentle, an Edison junior. He and juniors Amelia White and Christy Reis led an assembly on the subject.
Generation tXt is a youth-run project of the Crime Commission that was designed to help new drivers and their families practice safe driving.
Distracted driving has become a national epidemic, and a recent national survey shows that texting and driving is on the rise.
The National Transportation Safety Board unanimously recommended Tuesday that every state ban the use of all portable electronic devices such as cellphones by drivers.
Gentle told students Tuesday that texting and driving is now the No. 1 killer of all teenagers. But the potentially deadly practice is not limited to teenagers.
On Monday, a 42-year-old Marland man was killed when his vehicle crossed the center line and struck another vehicle in Noble County. State troopers believe that he was texting, which contributed to the collision.
Since Dec. 3, Tulsa police have been able to cite anyone for engaging in any activity while driving that interferes with the safe control of the vehicle. An accident or collision is no longer required for the $150 fine to be assessed.
Statewide, drivers can be cited for inattentive driving if stopped for a primary offense such as speeding. And anyone with a graduated driver’s license caught holding any wireless device while driving may have their license or permit suspended or canceled.
Edison students watched a video called “The Last Text” that showcased several teenagers who either lost their lives or killed someone because of texting and driving.
“I sent one stupid meaningless text - LOL - and killed a man,” a young man in the video said.
He sent the message, which means “laughing out loud,” to a friend while behind the wheel and veered into a bicyclist on the road.
Missouri State Trooper Grant Hendricks relayed the story of 18-year-old Mariah West, who died in 2009 while texting and driving.
“When I got to the scene, her face was disfigured from sliding down the roadway,” Hendricks said.
Later, he noticed that her cap and gown were still in the car.
“She was going to graduate the next day. It was really a horrific scene, all because of a senseless text message,” he said. “It’s just sad.”
White said she hopes the assembly, which included dramatic vignettes and the presentation of factual information, will stop her classmates from driving while distracted.
So does Reis.
“Coincidentally, I have been in a car wreck while changing the song on my iPod,” the 16-year-old said. “Now I don’t use my phone in the car at all.”