An Augusta law firm has launched a campaign warning young drivers that “'Send' Could Be the End” if they text and drive, and is taking the presentation to schools around the CSRA, including South Aiken High School.
Attorneys Reid Sanders and Melissa Detchemendy addressed several classes on Friday with a common message: Don't think it can't happen to you.
“We do a lot of personal injury work, and see a lot of people injured from texting and driving (crashes),” Detchemendy said. “Kids don't realize how dangerous it is. It's stuff your brain does that you can't control.”
Brain behavior is what Detchemendy and Sanders emphasized during their presentation on Friday, while also giving the students facts and figures.
“A normal text is about five seconds. It doesn't seem that long because you're thinking about what you're going to write,” Sanders said. “If you're going 55 mph, that's 100 yards.”
Texting while driving increases your chance of an accident 23 times.
“It's one of those things we all have in us that, we think we're invincible,” Sanders said. “We thinking nothing bad's gonna happen to us.”
One video simulated “motion-induced blindness,” during which focusing on one object causes other objects to “disappear” from your line of vision.
“The brain is able to filter out what it thinks is not important,” Sanders said. “And when you're focusing on a phone, your brain is focusing on the phone and thinking, 'That's what's important,' and the other things around you can disappear.”
Sanders gave the students tips to avoid texting while driving, including putting their phones out of reach, turning them on silent or having someone else in the car text for them. He also told them about downloadable apps that can disengage your phone if your car is traveling a certain speed, but also send a text telling anyone who messages you that you're driving.
Senior Callie Traver was surprised by some of the facts, particularly the “100 yards in five seconds.”
“I always think, 'Oh, I'm just looking down for a few seconds. I'm probably not going that far,'” she said. “But that opened my eyes. You actually are going a big distance.”
Rob Lovejoy teaches marketing at South Aiken and is also the advisor for the school's chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America. He heard about Vic Hawk Law Group's presentation and wanted his students to see it.
“They are so in tune to cellphones and technology. It's part of their everyday life,” Lovejoy said, adding that he was guilty of texting while driving. “After a few times of almost wrecking, it opened my eyes.”
The law group has made the presentation at middle and high schools around the CSRA, as well as to clubs and civic organizations. If you want the group to speak at your school or organization, call Vic Hawk Law Group at 706-722-3500, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the “Send Could Be the End” Facebook page.
Staff photo by Teddy Kulmala Sydney Panzer writes a text message on her cellphone during an exercise demonstrating how far a vehicle can travel while the driver writes a text. The exercise was part of Vic Hawk Law Group’s “Send Could Be the End” campaign, which was presented on Friday to classes at South Aiken High School.×
Staff photo by Teddy Kulmala South Aiken High School students used their cellphones for an exercise during Friday’s presentation of “Send Could Be the End.”×