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 Local Students Raise Awareness of Distracted Driving

​A group of students in the Friday Night Live program at five schools throughout the county recently participated in a statewide effort to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving.

Students from Gompers Preparatory Academy in San Diego, Julian High School in Julian, Torrey Pines High School in San Diego and La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad participated in the Roadwatch effort Oct. 14 by monitoring intersections near the schools and recording instances of distracted driving.

Most of the distracted drivers were talking on phones, eating, or drinking. Others were putting on makeup, wearing headphones, or even reading while driving.

Ignacio Chimal, a student who participated at Gompers Academy, said he was surprised at how many people were distracted by pets in their vehicles.

“It’s important for our community to stop distracted driving,” he said. “You’re not just risking your own life, you risking others’ lives as well.”

Portia Dawson, a Friday Night Live advisor at Gompers, said she was proud of the students work as they monitored traffic at 47th Street and Hilltop Drive.

“People are not paying attention, and our kids are out there,” she said.

Friday Night Live is led by high school students who are dedicated to creating and maintaining healthy environments for youth.

Across the state, students monitoring 62 intersections near high schools observed more than 6,700 cases of distracted driving in only an hour.

More than just cellphone use, distracted driving is categorized by California Highway Patrol (CHP) as a range of activities that impact a driver’s visual, auditory, physical, or cognitive abilities when driving.

"When behind the wheel, any distraction can be serious, even life-threatening,” says CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Too many lives are destroyed every year because of distracted driving.”

The Allstate Foundation and California Friday Night Live Partnership produced the statewide Allstate Roadwatch to raise awareness among adult and teen drivers and all communities about the importance of eliminating distractions while driving.

“Engaging California’s young people like this encourages their positive and healthy development and empowers them to become active leaders,” says Jim Kooler, director of California Friday Night Live Partnership. “Programs like our annual traffic safety summit and this Allstate Roadwatch allow California youths to lead their peers in reducing distracted driving collisions.”