Campus-wide safety initiative to curb distracted driving and promote safe driving habits kicks off February 25th with survey of students about behind-the-wheel use of cell phones/smart phones and other dangerous driving practices
INDEPENDENCE, MO –
Students at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River will be surveyed on February 25th and 26th about their driving habits, including their use of cell phones and smart phones while behind-the-wheel, as part of the schoolâ€™s campus-wide â€œDrive by Exampleâ€ driversâ€™ safety campaign. Developed by Kansas City crash lawyer and driving safety expert Douglas R. Horn, the Drive by Example initiative is designed to alert students to the new universe of roadway risk created by distracting driving and other dangerous driving behaviors, and to encourage them to model safe driving habits and practices that protect themselves, their passengers, and others on the road.
â€˜Our first objective in theÂ Drive By ExampleÂ campaign is to reach out to the students and survey their behavior and attitudes on the subject of distracted driving,â€ says Horn. â€œWe want to understand the distractions the students are being subjected to. Many times the students themselves donâ€™t realize how many potentially dangerous distractions and pressures are competing for their attention while they drive until they actually list them out.â€
â€œItâ€™s usually not just mindless chat on the phone with friends that distract the students when they get behind the wheel,â€ says Amy Slater, MCC-BRâ€™s Campus Life and Leadership Coordinator. â€œTimes have changed. A lot of our students are juggling many other things besides classes. Many of the students have kids and they need to make sure the babysitter knows what do to. Many students have two or three jobs and they need to respond to questions from a boss or co-worker.â€
Slater says because there are real life decisions being made by students all day long using a cell phone or a smart phone, she understands their desire to have access to their phone on a 24/7 basis â€“ even while driving.
â€œThe problem is that students arenâ€™t stopping to say to themselves, â€˜Perhaps Iâ€™m not going to be able to keep any of tomorrowâ€™s appointments if I donâ€™t put the phone down and pay more attention to what Iâ€™m doing right now behind-the-wheelâ€™, says Slater. â€œThatâ€™s why I thought it would be a good idea for students to learn more about the actual dangers of distracted driving through the Drive By Example program.â€
Horn says part of what motivated him to start Drive By Example was his observation that a steady decline was occurring in the driving culture.
â€œOver the past ten years, driving in general has become more dangerous. Not only have drivers become more distracted, but theyâ€™ve become more pressured and more prone to making reckless decisions on the roadway,â€ says Horn.
Horn says this trend can be reversed with the assistance of Americaâ€™s colleges and universities.
â€œInstitutions like MCC-BR make ideal venues from which safe driving practices can be exported into the community,â€ says Horn. â€œWith enough schools initiating driver safety campaigns like Drive By Example, weâ€™ll soon see a shift away from distracted and reckless driving and a move toward defensive driving, at which time weâ€™ll begin to experience a positive change in our driving culture.