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Students get crash course in distracted driving

Susan McMillan • Apr 8, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Dec. 13 was a snow day, so Mackenzie Davis went shopping.

On the way home from the Sandusky Mall, the Huron High School senior drove down Cleveland Road West in Huron Township, her Mercury Sable full of Christmas gifts.

Someone sent her a text message.

"I heard my phone vibrate," Davis said. "I knew who it was. I knew what it said."

It was hardly urgent.

In spite of the road conditions, in spite of warnings about the dangers of texting while driving, she reached for her phone.

The car drifted right, into a snowbank. Davis overcorrected, sending the car across the center line and headlong into a Firelands Plumbing truck carrying so many tons of water and tools that the impact was like hitting a brick wall at 85 mph.

Davis struggled through tears as she described the terrifying incident and the pain and remorse that followed.

"I don't want anyone to be in the position I was," she said Thursday during a school-wide assembly at Huron High. "I know you've all heard this before, but I want to put it in your head — don't text and drive. It isn't worth it."

After the crash, Davis missed five weeks of cheerleading and had to sleep sitting up for a month. She was relatively lucky.

She and a handful of other speakers at the hourlong assembly drove their message home: Distracted driving can lead to jail time, enormous financial liabilities and, in some cases, death or life-changing injuries.

Huron students have been hearing statistics and anti-distracted driving messages all week during a special "Arrive Alive" campaign.

Lizzy Claus called the assembly "intense and sad." As a freshman, she hasn't started driving.

"I'm not going to text and drive," she said. "I'm just going to turn my phone on silent and try not to look at it."

Read the full story in Friday's Register.

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