The Save a Life Tour made a stop at Greenwich High School on Thursday, and students got to experience the dire consequences of distracted driving and driving under the influence. The event included short documentary videos about victims of distracted driving, followed by the chance to get behind the simulated wheel of a car while receive real-time text messages.
Clay Martin and Trent Colby, from the Save a Life Tour, said they’d had bleachers full of students at GHS, 300-400 per block throughout the day, which is a typical day for the duo, who are based out of Michigan. Their job, exposing drivers of all ages to the perils of distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, takes them everywhere from every high school in Connecticut, to military bases, every state in the US and 22 countries.
“What we’re talking about is a universal problem,” Clay said. “What I’m really talking about is choice. It’s your decision if you’re going to pick up the phone when it rings. It’s your decision whether to call a cab when you can’t drive yourself home safely. All of those things are a choice.”
“Until you’re 25, the most likely cause of death is an automobile crash, and the vast majority of those crashes result from someone’s decision,” Clay said.
He urged the GHS teens to remember they have a choice every time they get in their car to take even a short or long journey. “None of this is news – everybody knows about these things. But the first thing and maybe only thing that might stop them is they’re worried about getting a ticket from the police, but I don’t consider them to be the consequence. I consider them a second chance.”
Clay and Trent played two video documentaries “From one Second to the Next,” which were powerful and set the stage for the simulated driving scenarios.
“Often it starts out with one text while you’re stopped at a red light,” Clay said. “Then the person texts you back a question and you find yourself replying. Right there you gave yourself permission… The next time you’re out at a party with friends …then day in and day out.”
Clay reminded the teens to consider all the numbers of people saved in their phones, people who care about them.
“And what about the other car?” he asked. “What about all those other people with friends and family?”
Clay suggested that the Greenwich High School teens think about the hundreds of people they may pass on their way home, people with their own family and friend.
“Hold that up against a Snapchat, an Instagram, a Facebook – all that stuff that might make your phone ring,” he said.
And the new issue raging across the country is driving under the influence of drugs.
“Most people feel there isn’t a lot of data to support the fact that that it’s bad. There are ridiculous myths like, ‘I just drive to the store when I’m high, and I drive slower, so I drive better,” Clay said. “DUI – driving under the influence – doesn’t necessarily mean driving under the influence of alcohol. If a state doesn’t have a specific law about driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug – that is what it gets wrapped up under, DUI.”
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and toward that end, a group of local teens are hosting a fundraiser at Grand Prix New York in Mt. Kisko for Project Yellow Light. to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
At GHS, Maggie Montague is organizing teams for the fundraiser is working with boys from Brunswick and King School on a fundraiser to benefit Project Yellow Light.