Distracted driving events planned for Southwest Virginia

Distracted driving events planned for Southwest Virginia

Richmond, Va., May 1, 2014 – DRIVE SMART Virginia in partnership with Eastman Chemical Company and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital have scheduled three days of distracted driving events designed to educate more than 1,000 Virginia high school students on the dangers of distracted driving.

On May 5 students from Bassett High School and Magna Vista High School will attend sessions hosted by Eastman Chemical Company (Henry County).

“Eastman Chemical is a proud corporate supporter of a number of community programs,” said Pat Caldarera, Eastman site manager. “This event will help ensure the safety of teen drivers in the Martinsville area.”

Through the coordination of Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, May 6 will feature an event at Lord Botetourt High School (Botetourt County) and on May 7 Bedford County’s Jefferson Forest High School will host the sessions.

“We look to support community events that inspire better health,” said Dan Freeman RN, MSN, Regional Outreach and Injury Prevention Coordinator for Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. “Texting while driving is the most dangerous thing you can do when you drive.”

The distracted driving program and a driving simulator have been funded through a grant awarded to DRIVE SMART Virginia by State Farm Insurance to work with teens in high schools across the Commonwealth.

“Safe driving practices are important for both teen and adult drivers,” said Anna Bryant, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist. “The simulator will help seasoned as well as new drivers realize how dangerous distractions can be on the road.”

Traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for United States teens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than all other drivers.

“The simulator and the program we bring to schools will support the current driver education curriculum with a high tech interactive education model and will complement the work we’re already doing in reaching teens with a traffic safety message,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia.

Anyone interested in hosting the simulator program should email DRIVE SMART at kristin.smolenski@drivesmartva.org.

Since 2006, DRIVE SMART Virginia has worked to educate businesses, municipalities, state agencies and students about the dangers of texting and driving.