It’s been a full and exciting week of Advisee Games (I’ll report on that next week), the always-fabulous Student Art Show & Senior Project Showcase, field trips to the Festival of Faiths (thanks to the Sacred Space Committee) and Brasserie Provence (for the upper-level French classes), fundraising lunches by the 11th grade and the We Act Club (“Gumbo for Ghana”), and more! Perhaps the most important thing we did all week, though, in terms of student well-being, is the Distracted Driving presentation for the full student body on Tuesday. Our Counselor Terri White shares more on that below:   

This week, the entire student body attended an assembly on the dangers of distracted driving. Jay Vaughn, a trial attorney and Goshen parent who travels around the country with other colleagues volunteering their time with the organization, presented to parents Monday evening and students Tuesday morning. The presentation included personal stories of lives lost and forever changed due to distracted drivers who were talking on the phone, working their GPS, texting, reaching for an object in the car, etc. Students were actively engaged throughout the presentation and horrified by video footage they viewed of teens and other drivers veering off the road or speeding through intersections completely unaware of the dangers they posed to themselves and pedestrians around them. The videos did not contain graphic content, but did show how in “just a few seconds,” cars can be out of control and off the road from distractions. The students also learned vital information such as: 

  • car crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 5-24
  • 60% of teen crashes are caused by distraction
  • today more teens are killed by distracted driving than drunk driving
  • studies have shown that talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, creates an increased risk of accidents similar to driving with a .08 blood alcohol level (the legal limit for those over 21 in Kentucky)

Strategies to reduce distractions were shared, such as good places to store phones while driving, phone settings that turn off notifications while driving, specific apps for reducing distracted driving, and strategies for passengers to point out risks to distracted drivers.  Students were asked to assess if they were safe drivers or lucky drivers, with the distinction being that just because people haven’t gotten into an accident or gotten a ticket doesn’t mean they are safe drivers; they may just be lucky.

Students shared that they felt their parents are some of the worst offenders of distracted driving.  Parents want their teens to drive responsibly, without distractions, but parents don’t always practice what they preach. The‘s website shares this message with parents: “Be the driver you want your teen to be. Teens whose parents drive distracted are twice as likely to drive distracted. Our teenagers pick up our behavior, good and bad. What behaviors are you teaching your children? What distractions would you give up, if it meant saving your child’s life?” We encouraged students to discuss these issues with their parents and talk about safe driving practices.  

The conclusion from the presentation was that accidents from distracted driving are 100% preventable, if we all do our part.

We truly appreciate Jay’s time in coming to speak with parents and students (and he said the high school student audience was the best, most energetic one he’s ever had!).