Franklin, TN – This morning, the Franklin Police Department coordinated a full-scale, mock distracted-driving response for the entire Franklin High School student body. More than 1,700 students filled the stands to get a look at the simulated moments before, and after a crash caused by a texting teen behind the wheel. Franklin Police Officers, Franklin Firefighters, Williamson County Paramedics, and Vanderbilt’s LifeFlight team participated in today’s presentation.
Five seconds is the average time that your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to drive the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. According to the CDC, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, and distracted driving, as a whole, is on the rise. Distraction.gov cites that 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 injured in 2012 in distraction-affected crashes.
In this morning’s dramatization, a texting driver was unaware that the vehicle in front of her had come to a stop. As a result, she violently struck the stopped vehicle. A back-seat passenger who was wearing a seatbelt, sustained minor injuries. An unrestrained, front-seat passenger was ejected – and died.
Through a unique hospital and school-based collaboration, Franklin High School’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals has taken on a year-long, multifaceted distracted driving program: “Be In The Zone – Turn Off Your Phone” with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and sponsored by Ford Motor Credit Company Fund and Community Services and The Allstate Foundation.
Franklin Police Chief David Rahinsky offered closing remarks at this morning’s ceremony. “The next time you think about picking up your phone while driving, we’re asking you to commit yourselves – right here, right now to saying no to distracted driving. Stop, wait, think, and live.”