SPOKANE – Mt. Spokane High School seniors in the Independent Living class started by producing videos on the dangers of texting while driving. Then, they showed them to the entire student body.
They went one step further and made a call for action, giving all staff and students the option to pledge a promise to not text and drive. More than 1,100 people – 75 percent of the school – signed the pledge.
Mt. Spokane High School senior Chad Harris said his involvement with the project showed him just how serious texting while driving can be.
“Honestly, at first I thought it wasn’t as big of a deal, but the more and more I’ve come to learn about it, about how many people really die from it and how avoidable it is, it’s kind of ridiculous,” Harris said. “I’ve stopped completely. I pretty much turn my phone off every time I get into the car because it’s 100 percent preventable.
As a display of just how many people signed the pledge, the class put the names of those who pledged on vinyl wristbands and secured them to a wrecked car and a chain-link fence near the exit of the student parking lot.
Mt. Spokane senior Deanna Stenzel said her brother was in a distracted driving rollover and paramedics said he was lucky to be alive.
“We don’t need to be texting while we’re driving,” Stenzel said. “It’s not smart at all and we could hurt ourselves and other people.”
Everyone who pledged also received a wristband that says, “Drive Now, Text Later.” Harris said no text is so important that it can’t wait a few minutes.
“I mean, you’re going to school, from school, you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a 30-minute drive. But really, you’re not missing out in that 30 minutes,” Harris said. “You’re not gonna miss the world ending or something like that.”
The Mt. Spokane students open up the pledge to everyone in the community. Members of the public are welcome to stop by their front office and sign a pledge and the students will add your name to a wristband on the fence outside the school.
The wrecked car display will stay up the rest of the year until next year’s seniors take on their own “No Texting While Driving” campaign.