Oro Valley Police takes part in Impact Teen Drivers

Distracted driving is the number one killer of teenage drivers, causing approximately 3,000 deaths per year nationwide, recent studies show. 

With that knowledge, the Oro Valley Police Department is teaming up with Dr. Kelly Browning, executive director for Impact Teen Drivers, an educational program that trains community leaders as instructors so they can better inform teens about the real dangers and consequences of distracted and reckless driving.

Read more at Explorer News

Create Real Impact Fall 2013 Contest

On August 26th this semi-annual contest will begin! Create Real Impact was started by Impact Teen Drivers as a way to encourage teens to get creative about finding solutions to reckless and distracted driving.

They put out the challenge to teens nationwide to submit entires in four categories, Film, Art, Poetry/Writing, and Music. This contest is open to all young people ages 14-22, and the top winner gets $1,500 to spend how ever they like! Head on over to www.createrealimpact.com and register today. Also, don't be stingy, help spread the word and get extra votes! This is a contest that is meant to inspire change and Create Real Impact!

"From One Second To The Next" Documentary

In this unique documentary we are presented with the stories of four families and how they have been affected by texting and driving. What makes this documentary special is that it is presented by the top mobile service providers in the country, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, the companies that supply us with the means to text are warning us about the dangers of using their own products at the wrong time.

In this documentary you will not only see the victims and hear their stories of pain and loss, but you will also hear from the perpetrators. The tales of how they wish they could have taken back that text, and how they will live everyday knowing they changed someone's life forever.

This haunting short film will leave you with a new perspective on texting and driving.

Teen-led Study Looks at Texting while Driving

A common question we get asked here at Impact Teen Drivers is along the lines of "Wouldn't it be safer to text with the phone up by the wheel instead of trying to hide the phone because of the cell phone laws?"

A teen-led study was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in April 2012. Using a simulator, teens drove with no distractions, while texting with the phone hidden, and while texting with the phone in any position the teen driver chose. In both texting scenarios, teens were more likely drift or have a near collision than when driving without a distraction. "These data demonstrate that there is no 'safe' or 'better' position that makes texting less dangerous," said Glade Inhofe, high school student and lead author of the study.

A distraction is a distraction! Texting is never a safe decision behind the wheel. Read more at Science Daily

We Can't Pay Enough Attention

Have you ever been texting while walking and walked right into a wall? Always good for a chuckle. Or a black eye. Well, now there's an app for that. Several apps, in fact, all variations on the theme of letting you text over a camera overlay of what's right in front of you. These apps are featured in various Most Downloaded Apps list. What can we learn from the popularity of programs like these? WE CAN'T PAY ENOUGH ATTENTION WHILE WE TEXT. If it's not safe enough to walk down the street while using your phone without technological augmentation, how can we possibly decide it's a good idea to get behind the wheel and drive with our attention focused on an on-screen keyboard? Running into a wall at 70 miles per hour is going to have far worse consequences than a black eye, and no one's going to chuckle about that.

Distracted Driving is Learned Behavior

Wayne Adkins, the owner and operator of Stop ‘N Go Driving ‘N Traffic School in Roseville, has observed that teenagers get the idea that it’s safe to drive while using the mobile phone (texting and talking) because their parents do it all the time.

“Parents are the one’s influencing their teens,” said Adkins, “These things I know from 17 years of being an instructor. They pass on their habits because they think their skills are ‘all that’ and the most interesting thing I hear from parents is: ‘I have been driving for 20, 30, or 40 years’”. 

Adkins encourages parents to consider the following:

  • Your teen does not have your years of driving experience. She needs to learn correctly.
  • Most parents have not read the DMV driving handbook in years and don’t even know the process of getting their teens’ a driver’s license according to today’s standards
  • Many parents do not make the time to ensure their child gets the proper training, which can translate to decisions leading to collisions.

“The harsh reality,” said Adkins, “is that young people who are killed in collisions resulting from speeding or texting or some other form of irresponsible driving have made a choice not to be safe. It’s not an accident.”

And Adkins asks folks to consider the following irony: Driving is a Personal Individual Responsibility (PIR), which is RIP backwards.

(Excerpt from The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture - A Parent’s Voice in the Cyber Wilderness - to be released this summer on SmashWords).

Driving while Texting

Ok, so you're at a party and your best friend has had about four drinks too many. She can barely speak coherently, let alone walk in a straight line, but she's gotten it into her head that she wants to drive home. You, caring about her continued life and well-being, are of course going to stop this from happening, right?

We all know that friends should never let friends drive drunk, and many of us feel strongly enough about that situation to step in and stop an alcohol-related crash before it can get started. So what's up with the fact that so many of us are perfectly willing to sit by and say nothing while our friends text and drive, even when we're the passenger?

I know, I know, we've all been guilty of texting and driving at some point. We all know that it's a little bit dangerous, but it's become so much a part of our driving culture that it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I mean, it's just a quick glance down to key in a few letters, right?

Recent studies suggest that driving while texting (DWT) can actually be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. Car and Driver Magazine recently released a study stating that texting while driving can add an extra 70 feet of distance to a driver's braking reaction, deteriorating reaction time by up to 30%. The University of Utah states that a driver engaging in texting is six times more likely to get in a wreck than one focusing on driving.

The road is an uncertain place. Other drivers swerving or braking suddenly, obstacles on the road, intense weather, wild animals... A lot of times the difference between a horrible crash and getting where you're going safely is a split second course correction or hitting the brakes at just the right instant. If you or your friends are too busy punching in that ever so important LOL ;), your odds of being able to protect yourself, your passengers, and the people around you take a huge plunge.

Next time you're riding with someone and they pull out their phone, just think about that a little bit. What is that extra 70 feet of reaction distance going to mean to you and your bestie if another distracted driver swerves out in front of you? Don't let the people you care about put themselves and you in danger – say something.

Create Real Impact

Sammantha Pierce, a high school student from Phoenix Texas, recently wrote an article for her high school newspaper regarding the 2012 Create Real Impact contest:

Since 2007 Impact Teen Drivers have been working together every year to help save thousands of reckless teen drivers, and this year they are adding a little twist.

Impact Teen Drivers is an organization set to prevent teen driving accidents. This year between Aug. 15 and Oct. 14 any student in high school or college between the ages of 15 to 22 are allowed to enter a contest to earn up to $500. “I think winning money for my ideas is a really cool thing,” said sophomore Alex Lopez. Students can make a video, music video, a creative writing assignment, poster or t-shirt to win the prizes.

All the materials used, filmed and preformed must be original in nature and creation. Any music, photos or footage students borrow must have expressed written permission for their creation. To submit a creation students have to submit online at www.createrealimpact.com and use the links instructed to enter. After the contest closes voting will start in Oct. 15 and ends the 29, then judging for the entries with the most votes will start. Students can vote up to 10 times a day for any entry they like. The judges will judge off of idea of the piece, effectiveness of the message and creativity.

The things students can make for this contest include a video, that has to be two minutes max and uploaded to YouTube and Impact Teen must be tagged in the video. A music piece, two minutes max, it must be uploaded directly to the Impact Teen Page online, with song lyrics. A creative writing piece between 100 words and 1,200 words, also directly uploaded to the Impact Teen website. “I would like to do the creative writing one because I like to write,” said junior Katie Soldinski. A t-shirt or poster containing artwork is also accepted in the contest, students just have to upload the file to the Impact Teen website.

“I would totally do the video, it’s a great time to make new memories and try something new” said junior Ryan Voyer. "

By Sami Pierce
Staff Writer

Quest Driving Safety

Have you ever wondered exactly what your teens were doing while they are out driving around? Are they being careful and practicing safe driving habits? Or are they driving distracted and putting themselves or others in danger? Well, now you can.

Making the roads safer by spying. That's the premise behind a new San Diego-based business that will put a tail on one of your loved ones to see how they're driving.

Quest Driving Safety is an undercover driving evaluation service founded by two San Diego law enforcement veterans.

It's being marketed primarily as a tool to help parents keep tabs on their teen's driving habits, but also to assess elderly drivers and employees.
For $99, an off-duty or retired police officer will follow your teen for 15 to 20 minutes, then write a report about what they observed.

"The key issues are making sure they put their seat belt on. They're not texting, or using the cell phone while they're driving. We want to see if they are obeying the speed limit, using the turn signal, not changing lanes and cutting somebody off," said Phillip Hubbs, a retired San Diego Police Department detective and the company's chief operating officer.

"Driving is the most dangerous thing parents allow their children to do," said Gary Lawrence, another company founder and current detective with the SDPD.

"Quest gives parents a tool they can use to help keep their teenagers and other drivers safe, and we provide the same valuable information to children of elderly drivers and employers. We want our clients to let their teen or employee drivers know we will be conducting periodic checks. That notice alone will result in a safer driver."

Quest Driving Safety launched Tuesday in 285 cities across the country.

"We're able to alert parents to potential problems so they can get it corrected before it's too late. Unfortunately, most high school age kids believe they are invincible and don't understand the devastating consequences bad driving can lead to and how their parents can be held responsible - civilly and criminally - for their actions," said Hubbs."