Summer is a time when many memories are made, and whether it is taking road trips or going camping, the quality of these memories can be affected by distracted driving or an unfortunate accident. The National Safety Council estimates about a quarter of all car crashes involve cell phones – that is a quarter of car crashes that have the possibility of being prevented!
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is partnering with Carlsbad High School to increase awareness of the effects of decisions made while driving. Carlsbad High School, part of Carlsbad Unified School District, a Live Well San Diego Partner since 2012, offers a Student Television Program (CHSTV) that has taken initiative to be a leader in bringing awareness to distracted driving. In December 2015, CHSTV entered a nationwide Distracted Driving Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest held by State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive Program and won 1st prize! The Celebrate My Drive Program focuses on sharing the message of driving “2n2” – two eyes on the road, two hands on the wheel. Since CHSTV’s production of this award-winning PSA, they have created many additional PSA’s that focus on different elements of distracted driving, such as talking or texting on the cell phone, eating, playing loud music and chatting with friends. CHSTV has made it a point to create materials that will bring light to the dangers of distracted driving.
Through this partnership with HHSA, the PSAs created by the CHSTV students are being shared through different avenues across San Diego County. For example, students from CHSTV participated in filming a segment on ABC Channel 10 News with news anchor Virginia Cha. These students were able to discuss their successes with their PSAs, their views on what distracted driving means, and who it affects.
Many other schools around San Diego County are also doing their part to increase awareness of distracted driving. The San Dieguito Union High School District, San Marcos Unified School District and many others require all students and their parents/guardians to attend a Start Smart Driving Safety class in order to obtain a school parking permit. The Start Smart class, taught by San Diego County Sheriffs, provides an opportunity for teens and their parents/guardians to discuss the serious laws, responsibilities and family expectations that are part of driving a car.
With all of the efforts taking place around the county, it is evident that this topic has catalyzed partners to come together to help San Diego County be a healthy, safe, and thriving community. HHSA, Carlsbad High School, and many other schools and partners throughout San Diego County hope that by increasing the awareness of the consequences that accompany decisions made behind the wheel, there will be a decrease in the rates of distracted driving.
For more information about these programs, or to obtain materials for use in your community, please contact Danielle Isola, Tools for Schools Project Coordinator, Health and Human Services Agency, North County Regions at Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-967-4512.