"It only takes a matter of a second or two to change somebody's life." That's the lesson Rome Free Academy students got today in distracted driving. Students took turns driving a simulator where they were asked to drive with distractions. Experts say lessons like this are vital to educate young drivers. Rome Police Chief Kevin Beach says, "They may not be at a high speed but you could have a child walk out from between a car and that's something that you're going to have to live with the rest of your life." 11th grade student Domenica Ripa says, "It's dangerous, no one should be able to text and drive at the same time. Like if you're paying attention to the speed limit and cars around you, what if some little kid came up in front on you, you're going to hit them and that's going to stick with you the rest of your life."
Authorities say showing examples like this, is how the message hits home. RFA Principal Mark Benson says, "Often times teenagers don't think ahead as far as what the consequences might be of their actions and so if we can find some way of showing them ahead of time, hey look if you do this, this is what's going to happen, you know we might be able to prevent a tragedy."
Part of today's demonstration was a car that was involved in a distracted driving crash and many students say this caught their attention. 11th grade student John Gannon says, "It's eye opening to see how serious it can be, I mean the destruction of it, the inside there's things from children and just very scary." The goal of today's demonstration was to remind teens of the dangers and many say they understand the consequences.