A large group of teen drivers and their parents made their way into the function room at the Webster-Dudley Boys & Girls Club on Tuesday, October 30, to hear from Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. about distracted driving practices and the catastrophes they cause. The program is one of the District Attorney’s community outreach programs.
DA Early Jr. was the first to take the podium and spoke primarily about the reasons why the program was initiated. He detailed when the program began, and that it actually was in response to a fatal crash that occurred in Charlton, killing a young woman who was texting on her way to school. Since then, the practice of texting while driving has become more wide-spread, and devastating crashes with life-changing events have ensued. But this wasn’t the only distraction that was discussed.
Next to speak was Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers of the Worcester office's Motor Vehicle Homicide Response Team. He discussed all forms of driving distractions, including the use of many electronic devices and having friends in the car while driving. He also discussed the inevitable factors that predictably contribute to many of the fatal crashes he has investigated: not wearing seat belts, speed, distractions - such as talking on the phone, texting, applying makeup, reading a newspaper - and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The main thrust of Travers’ multi-media presentation was to eliminate today’s most common distraction, text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. He stated, “We know it takes an average of five seconds to type ‘LOL’. You're taking your eyes off the road for about five seconds. And if you were traveling at 60 MPH, you will have traveled the length of a football field before you have even looked at the roadway.”
As part of the program, Travers showed participants the AT&T-produced "The Last Text," an informative video that included horrific images and heart-wrenching stories about several young people whose lives were cut short because of texting while driving. Among the real-life final text messages in the video are "Yeah,' "lol," "Where u at" and "where r," simple and insignificant messages that became chilling epitaphs.
Following the short video, Travers concluded his presentation by giving the young drivers some very good advice that should serve them well throughout their lifetime. He told them, “always buckle up, don't drink and drive, and turn your cell phone off or put it in the trunk when you’re operating a motor vehicle”. No text message is so important that you should lose your life or the life of your friends over it. “Treat all kinds of distractions as a risk to your safety”, Mr. Travers said. “And be mindful of the road that you're on, the weather conditions around you, and adjust your speed for what's reasonable.”
Following the program, DA Early, Mr. Travers, Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar and Webster Police Chief Timothy Bent made themselves available for questions as the participants enjoyed light refreshments.
- Wednesday, 07 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Region