By Asia Panessidi.
Sharon High School recently participated for the second time in the distracted driving simulation Distractology in addition to creating a student designed “crashed car display” in order to raise awareness about distracted driving among teens.
Members of Sharon High School’s SADD club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) signed up for the Distractology simulation, created by Arbella Insurance and based on research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, through Becca Pretto from the Sweet-Shuffain-Aronson insurance agency.
The purpose of bringing this simulation to Sharon High School was to address distracted driving among young drivers. The simulation, which allowed two students to “drive” at a time, provided students with many distractions and tested their ability to remain safe while in a distracted environment.
SADD club member junior Mitsu Philogene explains that the club chose to bring the Distractology program to Sharon High School because distracted driving is a very real problem in our community, more than people may think.
“As a club we felt that it would be a good idea to support this event because each of us know someone or have been personally tempted to do small things such as eat or check a text while driving,” she said.
Junior Darshana Blaise who completed the simulation says that it provided her with a new perspective.
“Luckily for me it was just a simulator and I could just turn away from it and go about my day, but in reality that’s never the case. Life doesn’t have a reset or pause button to tell you where you went wrong, things just happen, irreversibly,” she said.
SADD co-advisor Ms. Collins reports that the event was successful.
“Every available slot was filled, meaning the maximum number of Sharon High School students were able to benefit from the program,” she said.
In addition to the Distractology simulation, members of the SADD club also created a mock car crash display to raise awareness about safe driving. With the help of Officer Hocking, the car and set up the mock crash in front of the school, visible not only to high schools students but to all members of the community as well.
Junior Ayla Karasahin says that the mock crash display is a constant reminder to make good decisions.
“I am also a lot more at ease driving in a community that is aware of the dangers of distracted driving and is proactively trying to combat them,” says Karasahin.
The SADD club chooses to do events like these at the end of the year because there is a lot of opportunity for students to make bad decisions.
“Between prom, graduation parties, and the excitement of the end of the year, we felt as though drawing attention to unsafe driving would directly influence people most effectively at this time in the year,” says junior Philogene.
“Overall, the Distractology simulation and mock crash display are reality checks for students. We hope that everyone will think twice before doing something that puts us all at risk,” she added.