Students at the University gathered last week for a texting and driving awareness event hosted by the Campus Activities Board in collaboration with the Associated Students of La Verne.
Living in a culture with more screen time than face time has contributed to the serious problem of distracted driving, which is the No.1 killer of U.S. teens, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“April is … dedicated to raising awareness for distracted driving and the event is to promote safety and responsibility,” Victoria Perez, marketing chairwoman of CAB, said.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month was codified in by the National Safety Council to draw more attention to the growing issue.
Additionally in January, the California’s Wireless Communications Device Law prohibits texting and all use of hand-held devices while driving.
Under the new law, minors may not use the phone at all, and legal adults can use certain hands-free devices. If caught, the first offense is a fine of $20, and the second offense is $50.
The event gave students free car mounts, a car crash display, a safe driving pledge, and food from The Habit food truck.
“We put on this event to show a text can wait,” said Ryan Hoffman, ASULV senator pro tem.
“By receiving a car mount and signing the pledge, we hope students take into consideration their life and other’s lives when they drive.”
Adrianna Yanez, sophomore criminology major, was personally impacted by using her phone while driving.
Yanez said she ran a red light while answering a phone call. The accident totaled her car.
“I remember I picked up the phone, put it on my lap and I put it on speaker,” Yanez said.
“When I looked down and looked back up, I thought I saw a green light. I pushed my gas and I was hit.”
Yanez hopes to make a difference to her friends when she shares her story.
“I think seeing the wrecked car display and knowing my friends who have gotten into car accidents while using their phones, it hits a lot harder and it makes me not want to look at my phone even more and tell others to be more careful,” said Catherine Veliz, junior criminology major.
Flora Wong can be reached at email@example.com.