In Kentucky as well as many other states, drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Middlesboro ARH Hospital recently partnered with Middlesboro High School to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving through a “W8 2 TXT” campaign.
“At Middlesboro ARH, we typically raise awareness within the community about the importance of regular health screenings for overall good health and well-being; however, texting while driving also impacts the health and well-being of the community,” shared Vicki Thompson, Middlesboro ARH chief regulatory affairs officer.
“That’s why Middlesboro ARH partnered with Middlesboro High School. We want this generation who grew up with cell phone access to better understand the dangers of texting while driving.”
Ninth- through 12th-grade students attended a short 15-minute program, which was led by several student champions who were passionate about raising awareness on the dangers of texting while driving. Rebecca Prichard, junior class on Student Senate, was the emcee for the event. Students were shown quick videos of people whose lives were devastated and even lost in car accidents due to using a cell phone while driving.
Hayden Bennett, junior class president, read stories from students who had been injured or impacted by a driver texting or reading a text while driving and Joey Foreman, senior class vice president, shared his personal testimony.
According to Foreman, he had driven to Knoxville with some friends and while driving back home, he made a bad choice — one that could have devastated his life and the lives of those who were involved in the car accident. When his phone alerted him that he had a text, he reacted and reached for the phone while driving. In just the few seconds it took for him to punch in the passcode to view the text, he ran a red light and t-boned a van carrying a family. Thankfully no one was seriously injured. “I got lucky,” said Foreman. “It could have been so much worse. That’s why I am here today — to tell you not to text and drive. Don’t even pick up your phone while you’re driving. Pull over and stop the car to talk or text.”
Other student champions (identified in the photo) offered pledge cards with thumb bands that read “W8 2 TXT” and wrist bands that read “TXTNG KILLS,” encouraging students to take the pledge against texting while driving.
Duke Mayes, teacher at Middlesboro High School who helped organize the program, said “We had 243 students pledge not to text while driving which makes this campaign a real success.” According to Mayes, the students who pledged are committed. “I’ve had five students tell me just today that when they witnessed a family or friend texting and driving, they attempted to stop them,” shared Mayes. “Our goal was to create awareness to the dangers of texting while driving and we definitely achieved our goal.