Last month, more than 100 Penn State Abington students came out in support of "PAWS the Texting," a student run event organized to bring awareness to the hazards of texting-while-driving.
Pennsylvania Rep. Josh Shapiro gave an impassioned speech about the life threatening distractions caused by texting-while-driving. He spoke of the slow progress of his distracted driving bill in Harrisburg and relayed a heartbreaking story of a local family killed in a car accident due to the other driver's distraction caused by texting.
Shapiro encouraged students to communicate with their friends and peers about the dangers of this issue, how the habits of using cell phones while driving need to be stopped, and how different methods of communication such as speakerphones need to be used more often.
"This is something that -- using the technology available to us today -- we can change. While I work in Harrisburg on the policy, you all need to work on changing the behavior. It’s your generation," Shapiro said.
The student audience was completely engaged as compelling and disturbing videos were shown depicting fatal auto accidents caused by this ever increasing problem. They also participated in interactive activities that simulated the distracted driving such as texting in one hand while performing a variety of distracting tasks, including putting on make-up, writing, dribbling a ball or walking a straight or curved line.
According to Alisha Baker, one of the organizers of "PAWS the Texting" and soon to be corporate communication graduate, this awareness event was an enlightening experience for the student attendees.
"I believe this is an epidemic that is taking the lives of our families, friends and peers. I was inspired to 'do something' after watching some videos of families who shared their stories. That gave me a passion to want to do more and encourage everyone I know not to text and drive. I spoke with some students who attended the event and they said they really didn't know how dangerous texting and driving was. The event was really interactive and students were learning. 'PAWS the Texting' was a huge success," Baker said.
To see a video of Shapiro speaking to the group, visit this link.