Teens sending a message about texting while driving
Jesse Ritka reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
OAK CREEK - Texting while driving is illegal in Wisconsin, but people continue to do it. Now, some Oak Creek teens are sharing an important message with their peers.
Oak Creek High Schooler Didi Al-zubedi tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka she is worried about her classmates texting while driving. "I feel like it is becoming worse than drunk driving, texting while driving is really, really dangerous and if you travel the length of a football field, that's like blindfold when you're texting for 5 seconds when you're on the road, so it's a big deal."
Seniors Didi Al-zubedi and Alicia Compton and sophomore Alex Schmidt went to Washington D.C. for a National Summit on Distracted Driving in October.
It was an experience that altered their own texting habits. "I will admit that I did once or twice before I went to the summit, but as soon as I got to the summit, I was done, it really changed my view," Compton explains.
Now the three teenagers want others to follow their lead, making the texting stop when the engine starts.
Alex Schmidt doesn't think it's worth the risk, "It's death, one little text message can end your life instantly, everyone wants to live their life to the fullest and one text message is not worth it."
On Tuesday the Oak Creek students are helping send that message to 800 Wisconsin teenagers at the first-ever Teen State Summit on Teen Distracted Driving. The summit will feature a documentary sharing real stories about lives impacted by texting behind the wheel, showing students the last text sent to victims.
The program continues with help from the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Family Career and Community Leaders of America and AT&T Wisconsin before the Oak Creek students give their presentation.
"We decided we'd use a little tricycle with training wheels, we set up a whole obstacle course with duct tape and stop signs and pedestrians and we would have them text something on a big screen and make them go through the course," Didi explains. The course is intended to show how hard it is to text and drive safely.
The just hope the message they send is well received.
"Hopefully get everybody to put down their phones while they're behind the wheel so that we don't cause more accidents," says Compton.