Students Sign Pledge Against Distracted Driving

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WOAY) – Students at Woodrow Wilson High School got a special driving lesson from AAA, warning them against ‘intextication.’

In 2017, distracted driving took the lives of over 3,000 people. On any given day, it’s estimated that almost 700,000 people attempt to use their phones while behind the wheel.

“This is life or death,” said 11th grade student Emily Martin. “Driving is putting your life at risk…just to get from point A to point B. I wanted to take the pledge [against distracted driving] to show that I was going to stop.”

About 100 students heard the lesson on Wednesday. Many were shocked to hear the statistics regarding distracted driving. Students learned that on average, distracted driving kills nine people and injures over 1,000 every day.

In a world where our lives seem to center around devices, it can be difficult for new drivers to maneuver out of these dangerous situations.

“It’s uncomfortable getting into a vehicle with someone and they are texting,” said AAA public affairs specialist Tammy Arnette. “It’s almost uncomfortable to have that conversation, so we talked about how to make that a little bit more comfortable [by offering to help.”

AAA urged students to take distractions away from the driver by offering to answer text messages for them and behaving quietly as a passenger.

For the high schoolers, it was an eye-opening lesson. Some realized that their actions while driving not only puts their lives at risk but the lives of their loved ones as well.

“I drive my siblings all the time to practices and games and school, so just knowing that they’re safer and that I’m going to be a better driver because of this…. it really helps me a lot.”

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.