FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Texting and driving kills, and to help prevent another tragedy one high school on Long Island has students taking a graphic simulation course and a pledge – or else they can’t take part in most every seniors rite of passage, the prom.
There was another teenager spotted Tuesday behind the wheel with a cell phone — texting and driving. But as CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, it was just a simulation.
In just a few seconds Smith saw one teenager cross the double yellow line before crashing. It happens for real every day.
“By the end of the day today 11 people die trying to send a text message from the driver’s seat in the USA,” driving awareness instructor Storm Olson said.
During the simulation, students get to sit behind the wheel of a real car and text and drive without being in a dangerous situation. But just like in life, they could get one chance and it’s game over.
“I’ve been in the car with a relative who does it and I feel like they should stop,” Freeport High School senior Kasim Taylor said.
The school’s principal, Linda Carter, knows from personal experience just how devastating texting and driving can be.
“I have lost my husband due to a situation similar to this, so I am very passionate about this,” Principal Linda Carter said.
Students also watched a gut-wrenching video showing the impact one text message can have.
Student Treavond Brown said he doesn’t text and drive, but didn’t want to miss the “arrive alive” simulation, because anyone who skips it cannot go to senior prom.
“Any seniors who plan to attend the prom will have to attend or see the video and sign a pledge that they will not text while driving,” Carter said.
For the record, Brown told Smith he didn’t yet have a date for the prom, but was still looking. That’s the kind of problem a high schooler should have, and hopefully never one that results from texting and driving.
There were nearly 500 seniors who took the pledge Tuesday. Juniors were invited to attend, but it wasn’t a mandatory exercise for them.