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Looking ahead: Rochester high school students get lesson in distracted driving

John Marshall High School is bringing a texting and driving simulator to campus.

Posted: Sep. 12, 2018 8:32 AM
Updated: Sep. 12, 2018 8:50 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's a problem that doesn't seem to be going away...texting and driving. According to AT&T, over 80% of people admit to texting behind the wheel and about 64% admit to taking and sending pictures while driving. 

John Marshall High School is bringing this danger to the attention of students with a texting and driving simulator on campus. Students will get the chance go in the simulator and get in a fake crash. 

Mel Sadecki and Suad Mumin are seniors at JM and said they are excited for this event since they often see peers on their phones while driving.

"I've seen how bad, like, the student parking lot gets, so I think it's a message we definitely need to hear," Mumin said.

"Getting everybody to understand that your choices have consequences that affect not only you but, like, your friends and your friends' friends, and their families. It's just, like, a larger scope than like yourself," Sadecki added.

The event will also have a wall lined with keys representing all the people who lost their lives in distracted driving related crashes. Sadecki and Mumin said they often speak up when friends are not paying attention behind the wheel, and hope this event helps inspire other teens to do the same. 

"Don't be afraid to speak up, and if it's something small, offer to send the text for them," Mumin said. 

"They shouldn't get mad at you for it. So there's really nothing to be afraid of if you're going to stand up for your own safety and the safety around you," Sadecki said.

It's a team effort bringing the message to students. Here is a list of people attending the event to talk to students about the simulators and distracted driving:

Chief James Franklin, Rochester Police Department
Officer Greg Marx, Rochester Police Department JM School Resource Officer
Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office
Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol
Jessica Schleck, Toward Zero Deaths regional coordinator
State Senator David Senjem
Representative Tina Liebling

The similuators are part of ATT&T's It Can Wait campaign. They are going to campuses around the nation to show just how dangerous distracted driving is. Other Minnesota stops include Duluth and Lake Cyrstal. 

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