Com­mu­nity cal­en­dar

Pla­cen­tia school launches Na­tional Teen Driv­ing Safety Week

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY MELISSA JENK­INS melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Close your eyes. You’re be­hind the wheel of your car with your best friend in the pas­sen­ger seat. A ding­ing sound from your cell phone catches your at­ten­tion.

It’s a text mes­sage con­firm­ing plans for later that evening.

But the ex­cite­ment is in­ter­rupted when your car veers into on­com­ing traf­fic be­cause you didn’t see the bend in the road.

You are OK. Your friend, on the other hand, has sus­tained a se­ri­ous head in­jury, one that will take years to re­cover from. She may never be the same again.

This was one of many ex­am­ples of safe driv­ing dis­cussed at the Na­tional Teen Driv­ing Safety Week pre­sen­ta­tion at Laval High School in Pla­cen­tia on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 21. While the pre­sen­ters all spoke about the same topic, each one had a dif­fer­ent ex­am­ple for dis­tracted or un­safe driv­ing prac­tices.

Pre­sen­ta­tions

The English School Dis­trict se­nior ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer John Way re­mem­bered wit­ness­ing a young woman lose con­trol and roll her ve­hi­cle into a ditch on Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way. She had a bag of candy to keep her en­er­gized dur­ing the drive. Reach­ing for that candy dis­tracted her enough that she went off the road. Luck­ily, she was fine.

“Just like that, her life could have been over,” Way told the silent group of teenagers.

Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins also weighed in on the dan­gers of dis­tracted driv­ing, us­ing his own ex­pe­ri­ence and things he has wit­nessed.

“Driv­ing is one of the riski­est ac­tiv­i­ties you can get into,” Collins noted.

He drives to work on the Outer Ring Road in St. John’s ev­ery­day. It is known for ac­ci­dents, and Collins cites speed­ing as the prob­lem.

“The outer ring road is known as a dan­ger­ous road,” he said. “There’s noth­ing wrong with the Outer Ring Road, it’s the driv­ing.”

Pla­cen­tia Mayor Wayne Power Jr. has been ac­tive in road safety for many years. He is also a first re­spon­der.

“I’ve met many fam­i­lies whose lives have been ru­ined from un­safe driv­ing,” Power ex­plained.

He spoke about the im­pact an ac­ci­dent has on, not just the oc­cu­pant, but also those clos­est to them. His mes­sage ex­plained that death was a pos­si­bil­ity in in­stances of un­safe driv­ing, and ev­ery­one should know the rules of the road.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the New­found­land and Labrador Brain In­jury As­so­ci­a­tion, Angie Smith, was the pre­sen­ter that had the crowd close their eyes to imag­ine crash­ing their car. She’s seen so many fam­i­lies af­fected by brain dam­age and head in­juries over the years, many of which could have been pre­vented.

Her mes­sage was for stu­dents to pledge to leave their phones alone when driv­ing.

“Peo­ple come in

to

coun- sell­ing (ask­ing) how they’re go­ing to pay for travel back and forth to town for treat­ment, pos­si­bly for the rest of their lives,” Smith said.

Game show

It came as a pleas­ant sur­prise to Len LeRiche, pres­i­dent and CEO of Safety Ser­vices NL, and other in­vited guests that the school or­ga­nized ed­u­ca­tional en­ter­tain­ment.

Tele­vi­sion show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader” was the in­flu­ence of a live pro­duc­tion put off by the stu­dents.

Hosted by the school’s own Mag­gie Fol­lett, who was also one of three singers at the event, the game in­cluded sev­enth graders and other stu­dents that por­trayed adults with driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ask­ing ques­tions about driv­ing safety, in­clud­ing how many teenagers ad­mit to tex­ting while driv­ing, all sev­enth graders got all the right an­swers. The con­tes­tants got all their ques­tions wrong and had to ad­mit they didn’t know as much as the stu­dents when it came to road safety and statis­tics.

Some of the in­for­ma­tion the au­di­ence learned from the pre­sen­ta­tion in­cluded that young peo­ple have the high­est per­cent­age of ac­ci­dents and that peo­ple are four times as likely to crash a ve­hi­cle if they are us­ing a cell phone.

“Don’t be a statis­tic,” Fol­lett told the crowd at the end of the per­for­mance.

“Peo­ple come in to coun­selling (ask­ing) how they’re go­ing to pay for travel back and forth to town for treat­ment, pos­si­bly for the rest of their lives.” Angie Smith

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

Stu­dents at Laval High School put off a great per­for­mance to teach driv­ing statis­tics to their school. The in­cluded, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, Lu­cas White, Liam Ryan, Shan­non Barry, Christo­pher Clarke, Aaron Hussey, Mag­gie Fol­lett and Pa­trick Pear­son. Not in photo were Grace Fol­lett and Emily Reid, who were also con­tes­tants in the game show. Passed peace­fully away at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 16, 2015, He­len G. Hearn of River­head, Hr. Grace, age 78 years. Pre­de­ceased by par­ents: Richard and Alice Reynolds, brother: Joseph, sis­ters: El­iz­a­beth Mor­gan, Mar­guerite Butt and Sheila Short. Left to mourn, hus­band: Vin­cent; two daugh­ters: He­lena (David) Sheppard and Betty Ann (Max) Short, both of River­head, Har­bour Grace; two sons: Vin­cent (Diane) and Phil (Lily), both of River­head, Har­bour Grace; ten grand­chil­dren: David (Angie), Kayla, Hannah, Max­ine (Bill), Maxwell, Vin­cent III, Re­becca, Cameron, Colin and Ashley; two great-grand­chil­dren: Billy and Katie; sis­ter: Marie (Phil Sheppard), A First World War com­mem­o­ra­tion event fea­tur­ing the New­found­land Reg­i­ment Band will take place at Car­bon­ear Academy Thurs­day, Oct. 29. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and ad­mis­sion is free.

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