Tomahawk students learn about dangers of texting and drivingSubmitted: 09/24/2018

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Texting and driving leads to hundreds of thousands of crashes a year. 

That's according to AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign, which encourages people to take a pledge to drive distraction free. 

Representatives from AT&T, AAA, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and state legislators visited Tomahawk High School Monday for an assembly based on the campaign.

Many Tomahawk students drive, and most, if not all, have cellphones. The school felt it was necessary to show the students the negative effects of distracted driving. 

"We don't want to have something happen here in Tomahawk that could be a tragedy for our school. The more we educate our students about the dangers of distracted driving and things that could possibly happen, I think we're doing a community service," said Tomahawk High School Associate Principal Stacy Bolder.

A few students demonstrated the effects of texting and driving with a machine.

"Some of the students can come up and actually see firsthand and experience firsthand, by using that simulator, what the differences are between driving while you're focused 100 percent on driving, and being distracted when they take their phone out," said AT&T Wisconsin Director of External Affairs Robyn Gruner. 

The assembly also featured a video in which students got to hear from families of teens killed by texting and driving. 

"I think it was really great. I think...how quiet they were when they were watching the videos, I hope it hit home. It really seemed like it did," said Bolder.
Bolder said the topic effort to stop distracted driving goes beyond just an assembly. The students should talk about distracted driving with their parents. It's also something they can discuss in class.

The program was started eight years ago when Wisconsin outlawed texting and driving.

"When we saw that law come into place in the state of Wisconsin, we knew it would be important for us to take that message out to teens, and that's what really created the partnership between AT&T, AAA, and the Wisconsin State Patrol," said Gruner.

In those eight years, students from more than 100 schools have seen the presentation and taken the pledge to not text and drive. 

Story By: Rose McBride

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