Harris County students urge classmates to stop distracted drivin - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Harris County students urge classmates to stop distracted driving

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HARRIS COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -

Harris County High School student Rachael Benefield says it happens all the time. "Accidents happen all the time, 'cause people are answering their phone while they're trying to pull out," she says.

This is what motivated the Harris County SKILLS USA group to bring in the International Save A Life Tour, into town from Michigan. Their goal is to show students the danger of distracted driving through a hands-on approach.

Jonathan Saigen with the International Save A Life Tour explains, "Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers, and that's why we really focus on that group."

Students had a chance to experience texting and driving in a real-time simulator. The student-drivers had to control the speed, and the car. Once the instructor felt comfortable, the driver was handed a cell phone, and told to respond to text messages. This gave them a glimpse of how easily distracted driving could wreck your life.

Harris County junior Devin Goodman says, "It's a very difficult experience to try to attempt to answer a simple message, and drive at the same time. I know I personally didn't last maybe more than a minute and a half."

Saigen says it's important to spark a conversation about distracted driving throughout the school.

"How many accidents are truly an accident? How many times was that really an accident that you picked up that phone? Was it really an accident you were out doing something with the GPS," Saigen quizzes.

Saigen adds that this demonstration is designed to give students the answer: No. It helps them understand that crashes like the ones in the simulator are 100 percent avoidable.

"All we've got to do is put down that phone or put away those distractions," he pleads.

The Save A Life tour will stick around in Harris County for the weekend. Staying at the high school on Friday, and making a stop at the Harris County 4-H Center in Hamilton from 11 a.m. To 5 p.m. On Saturday.

The public is welcomed to attend.

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