JOE DOLINSKY, Times Leader Intern
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The McCann School of Business and Technology boasts the slogan “Changing futures, changing lives.”
Through an anti-drinking and texting while driving program offered Wednesday, educators at McCann hope to not only change lives, but perhaps save them as well.
Receiving hands-on demonstrations on avoiding distractions while driving, more than 100 students from area schools attended the “2012 Arrive Alive Tour” on McCann’s Wilkes-Barre Township campus.
“We specialize in tying ourselves to the community and to community issues,” said McCann Campus Director, T.J. Eltringham.
“And we felt safe driving was more important of an issue than ever,” he said.
As cellphones have become more prevalent in daily lives, so have cellphone-related accidents.
In a report published in 2010, the National Safety Council estimated that at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.6 million crashes each year – involve drivers using cellphones and texting.
Moreover, the same report indicates that teenagers text more than any other age group.
Coupled with their general inexperience behind the wheel, safety education for teen drivers is an ever-growing need.
Having run similar programs in the past, officials at McCann recognized the call for awareness.
“We try to support the community by helping it,” Eltringham said.
“This is one way we feel we can really make a difference,” he said.
The program ran in cooperation with UNITE International, a health and wellness organization that brings safety programs to schools across the nation.
UNITE’s Arrive Alive program features a driving simulator to allow students, in a controlled environment, to experience the potential consequences of distraction behind the wheel.
“More and more accidents are happening to teenagers due to texting and drunk driving,” said Nationwide Insurance Principal Agent Abe Hobson.
Hobson and Nationwide donated the food and beverages served during Wednesday’s event, which also featured demonstrations from the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department.
In addition to attending the Arrive Alive program, students also had the opportunity to tour the campus, meet program directors and receive the hands-on training experience of what it’s like to be a student at McCann.