A distracted driver presentation was held for Darlington High School students on Friday, May 2 from 12:30-3:20 p.m. The event included a presentation by several Upland Hills Health ER personnel and a high school student who sustained injuries after a car accident.
Tammie Benish-Wolfe, Patty Hinderman and Laura Erdman from Upland Hills Health presented a power point slideshow to students explaining what distracted driving is and how much it can affect a person’s driving.
Distracted driving includes (but is not limited to) texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating or drinking while driving, focusing on things like the radio or navigation systems and paying more attention to passengers in the car than the road.
In 2011 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers and in 2012 5,500 people were killed.
Presenters explained that 40 percent of your attention goes into writing a text, which incredibly lessens your focus on driving and that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to crash than a non-texter.
Hannah Laufenberg, a Highland student, was involved in a car accident in July of 2012 that left her unresponsive for six weeks and resulted in a traumatic brain injury that she is still recovering from.
Laufenberg was driving to a friend’s house with her younger brother when she looked away from the road for just a minute to change the song on her ipod. Her vehicle crossed the center line and she overcorrected causing the vehicle to leave the road and roll a total of six times.
Her brother received only minor injuries, but Laufenberg’s injuries were so severe that it was not certain if she would live and now, two years later, she is still recovering and said that she likely will be for the rest of her life.
After the presentation DHS students had the opportunity to participate in a distracted driving course set up in the school’s parking lot. Several students and even DSH principal Doug McArthur took turns driving UTVs in a short course with special goggles that caused the wearer to feel effects of being drunk and while being distracted by passengers as well as the audience of the student body.
The presentation was sponsored by Southwest Tech board member Don Tuescher and was a collaborative effort between Upland Hills Health and Southwest Tech