OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University nursing faculty and students, along with Zero Fatalities, hope to commit hundreds of Bonneville High School (251 Laker Way, Ogden) students to safer driving during a March 20 presentation from 9 to 10 a.m. about the dangers of texting while behind the wheel.
“I thought it would be a perfect time to do something like this for the community during our nursing school’s 60th anniversary,” said Marie Clayton, WSU adjunct nursing professor. “I think this presentation delivers a powerful dose of reality that will get this important message through to kids who feel invincible.”
The event will begin with a video of an auto-pedestrian accident caused by a driver sending a text. According to the National Safety Council, drivers using cell phones cause 1.3 million accidents per year, 100,000 of those while texting. WSU faculty and students will then present a skit simulating an 18-year-old male and a 16-year-old female in the emergency room, following a traumatic car accident. They will pass through the care of paramedics, nurses and doctors.
“One of the teens gets stabilized, but the other one deteriorates and ends up dying and gets wheeled through the audience in the auditorium zipped up in a body bag,” Clayton said. “This will be the pinnacle of reality for students to see.”
WSU nursing faculty presenters will include assistant professor Heather Clark and assistant professor and WSU/Utah State University Cooperative School of Nursing campus director Jon Kelly. Together they conceived and wrote the script for the skit.
“Driving while texting should really be called ‘Driving while intoxicated,’” Kelly said. “In 2011 nearly 23 percent of auto accidents involved some form of cell phone usage. Nearly 82 percent of teens between ages 16 and 17 own a cell phone, which makes education a high priority. The Bonneville High assembly will help students gain a vivid and dramatic impression of the potential consequences of driving while intoxicated. The Weber State students and Zero Fatalities hope to make a significant impact on the education of these students in the short time that they have during the assembly.”
Representatives from Zero Fatalities — a cooperative effort from various states addressing the top behaviors killing people on America’s roads — will then provide the high school students with statistics and examples to further educate them about safe and unsafe driving practices.
“We hope to commit young drivers to safer driving by having them sign pledge cards that Zero Fatalities will provide,” Clayton said. Students will also participate in a raffle and have the chance to win prizes including T-shirts and movie tickets.
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