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Sarah Dallof Reporting While the number 16 means a driver license to most high school students, it is also the average number of teens killed daily in motor vehicle crashes across America. Today, local teens rallied as part of a national movement to encourage fellow high school students to change the way they think and act in a car.
With each stroke of a brush, students from Kearns High School are hoping to make a difference, and possibly save lives. These students made signs and banners to encourage safe driving today during an after-school rally inspired by their student body adviser, Bob Ostberg.
They met with students from Riverton, Kearns and Jordan High Schools to participate in "Keep the Drive Salt Lake City," a program that touches close to home. "I've taught at Kearns High School for 20 years, and during that time I've lost several students, including some that were very close," Ostberg said.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number-one killer of teens. "Keep the Drive" provides students with the tools and resources they need to go back to their schools and communities and talk about driving and how to be safe.
"Teens should be empowered to speak up when they are in a situation they know isn't the smartest. You should feel OK to say to a friend, ‘Hey, turn off your phone' or ‘turn down the music' or ‘pay attention, you've got people's lives in your hands, and you need to be smart when you're behind the wheel,'" Melissa Stoloff, Allstate philanthropist, said.
Kearns students have also done some car safety research on their own. A poll conducted by the Kearns student body officers shows that of the more than 400 students driving home from school, and more than half are not wearing their seat belts.
"It's kind of scary now, knowing that the people who are around me every day could be hurt because they're not wearing their seat belts," Kearns Student Body President Stacia Ellis said.
Now, hopefully awareness will help prevent teen accidents caused by speeding and distractions such as text messaging and cell phones.