NORTH FULTON, Ga. — High school drivers have little experience behind the wheel and are likely to get into an accident when they drive. Add on the dangers of cellphones and texting, and it’s not hard to wonder why traffic accidents are the primary cause of death for teens across the nation, with nearly 6,000 killed each year.
To help combat that trend, the Road to Safety video competition was created. The 2012 Road to Safety program was held Jan. 31 at Johns Creek High School, where students from throughout North Fulton submitted two-minute public safety announcement (PSA) videos teaching their peers about traffic safety. Texting, distracted driving, drunk driving, seat belt usage and the rules of the road were all topics submitted by the 84 students in 30 videos.
The event was hosted by Cadillac Jack, radio host of 101.5 FM Morning Show.
Alpharetta High School student Megan English shared the story of how she was involved in an accident in December. She only went out for some fast food with friends when she was hit by a car.
“The road looked clear to me,” she told the audience of about 100 students and their families. “I blacked out.”
She was hit by oncoming traffic as she pulled out of the parking lot of the restaurant. Her car was sent spinning into the way of an 18-wheeler truck and then other cars. No one was seriously injured in the accident.
“I should have died in that car on 12-12-12,” she said.
The winning video was by Johns Creek students Mark Jackson, Cara Tripodis, Samantha Van Sickle and Chase Cappai.
“[The videos] really give kids more information on staying safe,” said Cappai. “They really bring it home.”
After watching cautionary videos of teens in accidents and the repercussions not just to the teen, but their loved ones, some students said they were more aware of their actions and more cautious about safety.
“I don’t let anyone in my car who doesn’t wear their seat belt,” said Van Sickle.
This was the second year in a row Johns Creek students have won the contest.
Road to Safety has blossomed over the past three years. Started in Milton High School by Lisa Cauley and Tim Enloe, the program has expanded to nearly every high school in North Fulton.
“The videos were incredible this year,” said Cauley. “The students did so much work.”
Second place also went to Johns Creek students Jesse McConnico, Sebastian Wetzel, Bryan Washington and Mark Jackson. Third place went to Centennial High students Nico Alcantara, Paul Elliot and Ryan Mitchell.
The “Innocent Criminals,” a Music Matters Rock U Band, performed renditions of a selection of songs and got the crowd on their feet. Bill Richardson, president of the Teen Victim Impact Program in Monroe, Ga., was the event’s guest speaker.
“We have one initial goal – eliminate the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset,” Richardson said.
Joe Lockwood, city of Milton mayor, is a supporter of the program and attended the event.
“I have my own kids who I have to worry about driving one day, so if we can get the word out as much as possible, hopefully it can help save somebody’s life,” Lockwood said.
For more information on Road to Safety, visit www.road2safety.org.