CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School students were recently presented with some sobering facts about distracted driving by Allstate agent Dave Glass and his wife, Jessica.
The presentation started with a video from the Allstate safe driving foundation and then continued with a slide show detailing three main factors in teen accidents: speed, lack of seatbelts and distracted driving.
Research has shown that one in three teens will be involved in an accident within 24 months of receiving their license. In addition, car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in America.
Distracted driving is playing an ever-increasing role in those crashes. The assembly focused on passengers (three passengers equals four times the likelihood of a crash for teens), cell phone use and eating as the main distractions teens face.
Audience participation was encouraged and the students were engaged in answering the questions.
Then, it got personal when Glass ran a slideshow of his own son, Gage’s wreck in 2013. Gage was 19 years old and on leave from the Marine Corps when he lost control at high speed and slammed into a tree.
The evidence, Glass said, suggests he was both eating and talking on the phone while driving. Gage was in a coma for almost five months and is still recovering today.
The students saw pictures of the destroyed car, as well as a video from Gage that he recorded just two days prior. In the video, Gage warned the students of the dangers of distracted driving.
After the presentation, students were invited down to take the ‘X the Text’ pledge, and to sign #GetThereSafe flag that will fly over the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School. Dozens of students took advantage of the opportunity.
Clearfield Principal Tim Janocko was pleased with the students’ response, saying “For the first part of the show, there was a lot of interaction, you could tell that the kids were really thinking about it.
“When Mr. Glass put the pictures up of his son and his wrecked car, you could hear a pin drop in that auditorium. If that presentation saves even one life, it was very much worth doing and we thank Allstate, as well as Dave and Jessica for coming out here today.”
Glass was also pleased. “This was our first time doing this presentation, and I definitely wanted to start with my alma mater. This place is so special to me”, said Glass.
“Mr. Janocko was enthusiastic about the idea when we approached him, and I think the presentation really hit home with a lot of these kids. This issue is certainly near and dear to my heart with what happened to Gage, but maybe the silver lining from his accident is that his example can change some habits in today’s young drivers and spare their families pain and heartache”.
In closing, Glass had a message for parents. “PLEASE monitor your kids’ driving habits as closely as possible. They tend to drive much differently with you than they do with their friends.
“If they are a passenger, and their friend is driving too fast or is distracted, encourage them to speak up. We all have and love cell phones, but they should be completely put aside while driving.”
Glass hopes to provide this presentation to other local schools as soon as possible.
For more information, about teen driving and promoting good driving habits, visit here.