Teaching teens the dangers of distracted driving

1:35 AM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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PARKER - Three seconds is all it takes to lose control of your vehicle.

That was the message to teen drivers Saturday at Lutheran High School in Parker.

Nationwide, nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year because drivers are talking, texting and e-mailing behind the wheel.

Saturday, the Douglas County Young Marines and Lutheran High School partnered with a Colorado Springs program called, "In Just 3 Seconds".

James Forrest is the Program Director. He created the program after becoming a victim of impaired driving.

"That is why we designed this program, Forrest said. "To educate [teenagers] and let them know this does happen."

They simulated a car crash where one teen driver was texting and crashed into another vehicle. Six people were involved, three in each vehicle. The Parker Police, Douglas County Sheriff's Department, South Metro Fire and Ambulance, the Douglas County Coroner and Flight for Life were all part of the program. Of the six, two people died (one in each vehicle), two were transported by ambulance, the driver who was not badly hurt was arrested and one was airlifted.

The hope is to not only teach young drivers what can happen but also teach how positive peer pressure can make a difference.

"I just got my permit," said 16-year-old Chelsea Sihpol. "I think everyone my age should know the dangers of driving and the effects it can have on people."

Some of Sihpol's friends were part of the mock accident.

"I was imagining what it was like to know them and lose them," Sihpol said. "It would have been devastating. I don't know how I would have dealt with that. Even faking it is still sort of hard for me to process. Nobody wants to lose anybody. You don't want to lose your life and you don't want someone else to have to go through that either."

Detective Shannon Brukbacher says these accidents, the lives lost and the hundreds of thousands injured every year is 'senseless'.

"When accidents like this happen, it's a sad day for everybody. It just takes a couple seconds and people's lives are ruined or people's lives are ended. Hopefully it sends a message home to all the kids to use their time wisely and focus when their driving," Brukbacker said.

9NEWS is committed to remind everyone of the dangers of distracted driving through our Great Hang Up Pledge.

To sign the Pledge click here. 

To learn more about the "In Just 3 Seconds" Program go to www.just3seconds.org or http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151063519884087.422766.614699086&type=3#!/pages/Just-3-Seconds/325152737206

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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