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Hill Park students speak out against distracted driving

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Cosburn Warner knew trouble was just two seconds away when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the driver with her eyes off the road.
The woman had her head down, presumably texting, or otherwise distracted, and was going to hit him.
Warner was stopped in the driving lane and waiting to move into the passing lane to get around a stopped vehicle near a busy Mountain intersection.
“I could see her coming and I couldn’t do anything or I would have caused an accident,” he said.
The driver looked up at the last second and swerved, but still struck Warner’s car heavily in the right rear corner, causing extensive damage to the frame. The Hill Park student and his passenger were not seriously injured, but it could have been much worse, he said.
“She got out and said she was sorry, but at that point I didn’t really care what she had to say,” said Warner.
Warner is one of over a dozen Hill Park students who have submitted entries in a national insurance company’s contest to find youth-driven advertisements against distracted driving. Warner is part of a video submitted by himself, Amy MacDonald and Eric Freeman.
The Just Drive contest began in November. Hill Park students’ submissions have reached the top 10 in the video, audio and poster categories. Winners will be announced Jan. 22; the entries can be seen at justdrivecanada.ca.
Shanay Cunnngham and Eszter Orsos submitted an audio file which also made the top 10.
In it, Cunnngham talks about starting her senior year of high school without her best friend because of a car crash caused by distracted driving which claimed her life.
“I learned the hard way that life can forever change in the blink of an eye,” she says during the cautionary tale.
“Please learn from our mistake,” Cunnngham says after a description of how the crash happened and the sound of crunching metal.
Jeff Morrison, the English and yearbook teacher who is helping the students with their contest submissions, said distracted driving, whether it is from texting or just fooling around in a vehicle, is a problem among young people. He challenged his students to come up with entries for the contest.
They are taking the matter seriously, he said, and trying to ensure their peers know the consequences.
“Today’s youth think they’re invincible,” he said. “I’ve never seen kids so addicted to their phones.”
The contest is being judged by TV personality Phoebe Dykstra. Any cash earned from submissions is being used to offset the cost of producing yearbooks.

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