Program aims to prevent distracted driving in teens - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Program aims to prevent distracted driving in teens

Students in Marshall took part in a simulation to demonstrate the consequences of texting while driving. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) Students in Marshall took part in a simulation to demonstrate the consequences of texting while driving. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12) (Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12)

Authorities held a crash simulation Thursday morning in Marshall, Texas, to help illustrate to students the real-life perils of being distracted as you drive.

The Shattered Dreams enactment for Marshall High juniors and seniors was staged at noon at the Marshall Civic Center.

"I got a text and I looked down for a second and that was all it took to get into the wreck," said Abigail Herman, who played the teen driver who caused the simulated crash that claimed the lives of 2 of her classmates.

"There was a moment when I looked over and I saw one of the girls lying there and she was dead and it made it so real," said Herman.

Shattered Dreams is a program aimed at helping students realize the consequences of their actions while operating a vehicle and the everlasting effects on many others, including innocent victims.

This year, the group decided to focus it on distracted driving for the first time, instead of drunken driving.

"We know that all of our students are going to be doing that. Some of them may drink and drive, but we know that all of them are going to text and drive," said Randy Pritchard, deputy emergency coordinator in Marshall.

The simulated crash was meant to look as real as possible.

"To be honest, this is what would happen at any accident of this scale. that would be available any minute of any day. As safety professionals, this is what they do," said Pritchard.

Taking part were first responders and actors posing as grieving parents.

"We do come across accidents like this, so it's just like second nature kicks in," said Justin Mills, of the Marshall Police Department.

That's something that some students say resonated with them.

"I was honestly a little bit scared thinking that this could happen to anybody," Marshall High junior Caitlin Weiss said.  
"You never know when it's going to be your last text. So it just scares you a little bit."
The project is spearheaded by the MISD School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), a volunteer panel comprised of students. parents and professional partners of the MISD.

The SHAC chose to focus the project on distracted driving because it has become an epidemic in America.

However, the data about it is lacking. 

Unlike a DWI, where the physical evidence can be proved, with distracted driving, you must have a confession or a witness to it. 

At this time, there are no specific laws against texting and driving in Texas.

Among agencies that took part in the Shattered Dreams crash simulation are:

  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Department of Transportation
  • Marshall Independent School District
  • Harrison County district attorney’s office
  • Marshall Fire Department
  • Harrison County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marshall Police Department
  • Honorable Jim Ammerman II
  • Marshall ISD Police Department
  • Harrison County ESD 3
  • City of Marshall
  • ETBU drama department
  • MISD School Health Advisory Committee 
  • East Texas Medical Center Air 1
  • Meadowbrook Funeral Home
  • East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • Jeff Weinstein - NoDD
  • El Mexicano Auto Parts
  • MHS Drama Club
  • Ronnie’s Wreckers Service

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