YOVASO Leadership Retreat Focuses on Distracted Driving

Lynchburg, VA- Student leaders from across the state have been gathering at Lynchburg College this week as a part of YOVASO’s Summer Leadership Retreat.

22934968_BG1YOVASO, or Youth of Virginia Speak Out, has been teaching students how to stay safe on the road, so they can relay the message to fellow students. These days they’re really focusing on distracted driving. They even had a texting and driving simulator for students to see what all can go wrong if you decide to hit reply while you drive.

“We have sensors hooked up to the gas, the break and the steering wheel, and we have students get inside and put on virtual reality glasses that gives them a perspective of the road. And then we have them pull their phone out and try to text while driving,” said Tyler Herbstreith, with Unite’s Arrive Alive Tour.

“Any eye glance more than two seconds is dangerous behind the wheel and when you are texting you can at least take your eyes off for five seconds and you can travel the length of a football field in that time,” said Haley Glynn, Retreat Director of YOVASO’s Summer Camp.

“It happens pretty fast. As soon as you look down you really just don’t know what’s happening in front of you because you’re looking down, even if it’s just for a second,” said Meg Tomlinson, a YOVASO student.

YOVASO student leaders like Tomlinson know there can be consequences if you let your phone dictate your driving. That’s why she says,”I just, I don’t look at it. I don’t even pay attention to it when I’m driving, because driving is the most important thing.”

Even though Virginia now has a law against texting and driving, it doesn’t include updating your status or uploading a picture.

“Then you have things like Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat. That’s all going on smartphones, that people might not think as texting and driving. We like to mention that to them,” said Herbstreith.

And you may think your multi-tasking abilities are good enough to avoid a wreck, but sooner or later those distractions will catch up with you.

“They all do something wrong. If it’s not speeding or driving well below the posted speed limit, swerving in between lanes without turn signals–everybody does something a little wrong,” said Herbstreith.

And that’s a big message YOVASO has been pushing; if everybody does something a little wrong, it could cause some pretty big accidents.

In addition to Thursday’s events at the retreat, YOVASO held their annual awards banquet at Lynchburg College to honor youth, sponsors and law enforcement from across the state who have helped them in their mission.