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Recent “car crash” at Overton stresses “Be in the Zone – Turn Off your Phone”
The John Overton chapter of HOSA recently won the First Place Prize of 2,500 dollars for their year long efforts to stop teens from texting while driving in the campaign, "Get in the Zone, Turn Off Your Phone."
Taking your eyes off the road, for even a second can lead to tragic consequences, but few students even consider that a school parking lot can be the center of a horrendous accident due to distracted driving.
It was only a few years ago when a student who attended a nearby high school lost his life due to one or more students not paying attention to driving carefully out of the school parking lot.
The Overton HOSA club decided to raise the awareness of how dangerous it is to drive while distracted and they have spent the 2016-17 school year convincing students and adults it is time to put the phone away while driving.
To make the largest and most emotional impact on students as to how dangerous texting while driving is, students from the JOHS chapter of HOSA and the Bobcat Players chose to re-enact a “car crash simulation of a parking lot wreck between several student drivers” involving two cars that led to a simulated emergency that needed a ambulances, fire trucks and life-flight.
The Overton HOSA Club partnered with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in a yearlong anti-texting while driving campaign called “Be in the Zone- Turn Off your Phone.”
The campaign is sponsored by The Allstate Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.
Students from the Health Sciences Academy and the Event Marketing Academy were invited to come out to the parking lot to witness the crash.
Student drivers acted as they often do, shouting out windows, standing up in the beds of trucks and all of the passengers and drivers were on their phones when suddenly a crash took place, and the Bobcat Players beautifully depicted a driver thrown through a windshield, an air bag discharged, “blood” oozed from head injuries – as real as any wreck that any have seen. The audience was so taken aback that several were shaken to their core.
The Bobcat Beat had reporters there to film and document the crash scene. Social media was used just as it would be at a real emergency. In fact, the simulation was so successful that the social media messages had to change from documenting the event to assuring professional news media and neighborhood residents that the crash was not real and only a mock crash.
Within minutes of the “crash”, Metro’s Fire Department trucks No. 27 and Engine 27 arrived on scene as if it were a real emergency. The District Chief of Station No. 6 arrived on scene along with medics from station No.10 and Rescue Unit No.12. Even Assistant Chief of EMS Nashville Fire Department, Bobby Jones, was on hand to help direct the emergency personnel.
Theater students prepared to act as onlookers, drivers and passengers. The terror, fake blood and real time run through of how a fire department, police department and ultimately the life flight unit would act created so realistically, students not involved in the process were crying along side the actors, even though they knew the situation was a simulation.
For the efforts of all of their hard work, the HOSA chapter of John Overton High School won first place Thursday, April 28, 2017 for their year long campaign, “Stay in the Zone, Get Off Your Phone.”
Yashica Preston, Sponsor and Advisor to the JOHS HOSA chapter, recently met with the Bobcat Beat to discuss why it this campaign was so important to her.
BB: What inspired you to do this?
YP: I wanted to bring awareness to our student population and their parents on the importance of distracted driving. You never realize how much of an impact it will make on your life until it happens to you or someone close to you. Many innocent people have lost their lives or severely injured in seconds because of a small distraction while behind the steering wheel of a car.
BB: How many other school have done this?
YP: I know many schools in other counties do it every year. But I am honored to say that Overton High School HOSA Club is the first school to accomplish this event in MNPS district.
Editorial Note: It is common best practice for multiple cross-curricular disciplines to collaborate on project based learning units. This exercise is one of many examples of two academies, The Health Sciences Academy and the Event Marketing and Music Performance Academy collaborating to achieve a common goal.
BB: Was it fun collaborating with theatre?
YP: It was AMAZING collaborating with our theatre department. The actors were phenomenal. We could have not done it without them and their awesome instructor Gina Kelley.
BB: I don’t know if you were aware that many people were watching the event live via Snapchat and Periscope and they thought it was real. Parents called the main office worried to see what happened. Is this the reaction you were looking for?
YP: Well, we never want to worry any parent about their child being hurt. But I wanted the students and the parents to be aware of the statistics of vehicle crashes each year due to a distracted drivers. Over 3,000 teens in the US are killed and 221,313 are injured each year in motor vehicle crashes. So, yes I would say I wanted this event to seems real as possible.
BB: What were some difficulties you faced while trying to put this together?
YP: With this being the first year for the event I would say that it went pretty well. Some difficulties was trying to schedule dates/times, making sure everyone was on the same page, and everyone wanted what was best for the students. But there is always room for improvement. I look forward to next year’s event being bigger and better. As long as, I can make an impact on someone else’s life then I am grateful. Everything I do here at Overton is for the love of my students. I would say JOB WELL DONE!!
Organizations that contributed to the “Get in the Zone, Get Off the Phone” Campaign
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of your primary task of driving safely, potentially endangering the driver, passenger, and bystander safety. Some forms of distracted driving include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
There are currently 46 states that ban text messaging for all drivers, and all but five utilize primary enforcement.
A “primary” offense means that if law enforcement witnesses you with a cell phone they can pull you over and ticket you JUST for that. A “secondary” offense means that if law enforcement witnesses you with a cell phone you must be doing something else that is otherwise considered illegal/punishable to be pulled over, such as speed, driving without a seat belt, or having a broke tail light.
Distracted driving crashes made up more than 12 percent of all crashes in Florida in 2015.More than 45,000 crashes occurred by distracted drivers in Florida in 2015, resulting in more than 200 fatalities and more than 39,000 injuries. Drivers ages 20–24 years old made up the highest number of distracted driving crashes, followed closely by 25–29 year olds and 15–19 year olds. In fact, drivers under the age of 30 accounted for more than 12,000 crashes last year from just not being focused on driving.
Distracted driving remains to be one of the most common traffic incidents. When someone is involved in a crash by their own fault (distracted driving), they are very unlikely to report it to the officer documenting the crash. As a result, the facts and figures do not accurately represent the amount of people truly affected by this deadly decision.