Alaska students get creative to fight distracted driving

KTVA: Alaska students get creative to fight distracted driving

March 21, 2016

ANCHORAGE — People ages 15 to 19 account for 7 percent of Anchorage’s population, but 16 percent of car crashes. Most teens know texting and driving is dangerous, which is why South High School junior Haley Edmondson wanted to highlight how loud music and friends can also be dangerous for young drivers.

“People don’t realize other distractions that are in their car besides just texting,” Edmondson said.

Alongside five other South students, she made a short film showing how teen drivers can easily become sidetracked from the task at hand. Her team is one of eight from around the state that made short films about the risks of distracted driving as a part of the “Raise Your Voice” campaign from the Alaska Injury Prevention Center.

Edmondson said the films are 100 percent student made and aim to help teenagers realize they aren’t invincible behind the wheel.

“They don’t realize how big of an issue it is until they get into a car accident,” she said.

Another video produced by the student government at Dimond High School demonstrates how using a phone – even at low speeds – can lead to a crash. Ironically, the film was entirely made with iPhones.

“We actually had a lot of fun making it,” said Dimond senior Samantha Baltierra. “It was a great experience.”

She says her group was inspired by their chaotic parking lot at the end of the day.

“The line [of cars] will start moving and you might brake just in time. I’ve almost hit people,” Baltierra said.

In addition to those made by Anchorage teams, videos were also produced by students in Wasilla, Fairbanks and Noatak.

“We’re just working to get the message out there that you should slow down, pay attention and follow the rules of the road,” said Sylvia Craig, the project’s coordinator for the Alaska Injury Prevention Center.

The videos will publicly debut at an event at the Taproot in Spenard Tuesday at 3 p.m. Afterward, the Injury Prevention Center will share them on social media.

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