Texting and driving: What RU thinking?

At Huron High School, art teacher Patty Vanbarg's students readily admit to texting while driving -- just not in Huron, where it's illegal.
Susan McMillan
Apr 2, 2011


At Huron High School, art teacher Patty Vanbarg's students readily admit to texting while driving -- just not in Huron, where it's illegal.

A study Vanbarg is compiling reveals much of the same.

"Their answers were very contradictory with each other," Vanbarg said. "They said it's definitely a bad thing and it's very distracting, but 'Yes I do it, yes my friends do it and yes my parents do it."

Vanbarg, other school employees and Huron police have arranged an entire week of activities to raise awareness and dissuade students from driving distracted.

The art students made posters to display at local businesses.

Students will be able to take pledges at lunch -- promising not to text and drive -- and try a virtual simulator Friday to show them just how their reactions times are affected when they're texting and driving.

An assembly Thursday will feature a Huron graduate who was injured in a crash in which the other driver was texting, as well as senior McKenzie Davis, who was in a crash caused by her own texting.

Davis certainly hasn't been the only student injured in a texting-related crash, but many of the students still seem to think they're capable of texting and driving.

One girl told Vanbarg she has her phone's keyboard memorized so she doesn't have to take her eyes off the road to text.

"They're so used to multitasking, and they really don't see an issue with it," Vanbarg said.

All drivers are banned from texting within city limits, but Huron police are taking their message to the school because teens are particularly attached to their phones, Huron police Chief John Majoy said.

"They're also inexperienced drivers," he said. "They've been driving a year, maybe two, or less."

Since the texting ban took effect about a year ago, Huron police have handed out no citations and just one warning.

"That's good and bad," Majoy said. "It's bad because we think it's still going on."



NO TEXTING IN HURON???  Great, a place to go ride our bikes when we tire of the rails to trails.  I think seatbelt use ought to be against the law for texters.


This could be taken care of very easily . They have the technology now to disable the send and receive capabilities of texting if the phone moves over 10 MPG's . Right now it's an app you can apply to certain phones , but why not make it standard on all phones since both teens and adults seem to have a problem leaving the phone alone ? 

Spy's picture

Raising awareness would be one of the most effective and least controversial ways to combat texting and driving. People will break laws that are hard to enforce. It is much more successful to create a thought in someone's mind that they would not consider such an action even if no laws were against the action. I hope that in time we will reach a certain expectance of society not to text and drive. I only wish it would happen sooner though.


think9>>>>>that's just ignorant!


It's no that I was trying to be ignorant.  If there we3re no seat belts, I can guarantee, that as a parent, there'd be no cell phones for my kids.  We use 3 net 10 phones that we put 200 minutes a month on.  Texting uses only a half of one of these minutes.  But I've heard of kids using 1000's of minutes a month.  Most parents biggest fears are when the kids drive away from home for the first time.  I cleaned a bloody mess out of a creek in Milan in the boonies where two kids had one of the kids dads car 12 or 13 years ago.  They wrecked and died.  There was a Smashing Pumpkins c.d. on the floor.  I wondered if the driver may have been reaching for it when he lost control.  Don't know.  But the guts laying in the fall leaves in the creek could have been your kids. My kids.  Especially with the things that distract the drivers now.  No, the lack of seatbelts in the kids cars statement is something for the parents, IF they are parents that care.  Kids with cellphones in cars is equal to cars with polyester and steel showing on bald tires.


Why were"nt  these Laws put in place prior to letting the public drive with cell phones? Didn"t anyone see this train wreck coming in advance? We have the technology to make cell phones void while driving. Just think of all the unnecessary deaths this could have saved. mostly younger drivers. But what are the snitch drivers going to do if they see the law broken while driving?

BW1's picture

Bluto and Snoozer, how is the phone supposed to know if the person using it is driving, a passenger, on a train/bus, or in a taxi?  No, neither that scheme nor this law is the answer.  The law is almost impossible to enforce, and it does nothing about reading the newspaper or putting on makeup (both of which I've observed happening) while driving.  In addition, there are people who drive blithely unaware of their surroundings without any phone.  There are also people who can drive safely while eating a burrito and talking on a cellphone, in a stick shift.   All these specific distractions and the ever growing list of prohibitions on them are just that - distractions from the real issue that most Americans don't take driving seriously.  What we need is to make it a LOT harder to get a license, so that airheads can't get one.

Raoul Duke

I like to text while driving drunk , through Huron.


What about all the stupid people driving with their DOGS on their LAPS??? How is that NOT a distraction. Why not pass a law that states you need to pay attention while driving..... oh wait they already have that. So let's make more laws which duplicate what is already on the books, that are not enforced? That will make us all feel better!