The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 8, 2013

New program will target young, distracted drivers

MILTON — Beginning in the fall, middle school students across the Valley will be learning important lessons about how to stay alert and focused when on the road.

Donna Bridge, president and chief executive officer of Kingdom Kidz, said the program, ”Steer Clear of Distracted Driving,” is a collaboration between Kingdom Kidz and the Lawton Insurance Agency in Milton. It aims to reach young people as they prepare for driving lessons and being passengers in friends’ cars.

“If we get the students before they begin driving, they’ll become more aware of these things as they head into driving lessons,” Bridge said. “And not only will they be driving, but they are passengers and passengers can be distractions.”

The interactive program will launch in the fall and have several elements, including a puppet program and a question-and-answer panel featuring an insurance agent, a community police officer and a parent or sibling of a teen who has been killed or seriously injured by distracted driving, Bridge said.

The idea for the program came after Bridge met Steve Everitt, an agent with Lawton Insurance, at a recent business networking event, Bridge said.

Distracted driving is a huge problem for drivers of all ages, but particularly teens, Everitt said.

“I don’t think we’re focused enough on it,” he said. “We see it as an insurance agency, and it is a real problem.”

In 2011, 3,331 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, grooming and adjusting the radio are among activities that can distract drivers.

About 11 percent of all teen fatalities are related to distracted driving, the highest percentage of any age group, according to NHTSA data.

In Union, Snyder, Montour and Northumberland counties, about 11 percent of all crashes from 2007 to 2011 — the most recent data available — were related to distracted driving, according to state Department of Transportation data.

“It only takes a second taking your eyes off the road,” Everitt said. “And cell phones are probably the worst offender.”

Bridge said the program aims to not only educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving but help them recognize and combat distracted driving in others.

The success of lessons imparted in Kingdom Kidz programs makes Bridge confident the program will reach children and make a difference.

“You would not believe how many parents have come to us and said, ‘You know, a song or something that you said, our children are telling us about it,’” she said. “‘Sesame Street’ did an excellent job to show how education and puppetry go hand in hand.”

If the program can impact just one young person, it will be worth it, Bridge said.

“If we can save one life, it’s worth it,” she said.

Kingdom Kidz programs are in 29 schools in Northumberland, Lycoming, Snyder and Montour counties, Bridge said.

The program, which will be rolled out over three years in each school, is looking for sponsors. Interested individuals or businesses may call Bridge at 742-0379 or visit the website at

Text Only
  • Baby, 3 others hurt in Route 11 crash near Danville

    DANVILLE — Two women, an infant and the baby’s 2-year-old girl sister were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a three-vehicle chain-reaction accident at 3:14 p.m. Friday on Route 11 near Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Center in Mahoning Township.

    July 26, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • William Cameron to spend $12,000 to find new chief

    LEWISBURG — The William Cameron Engine Company will pay a State College consulting firm more than $12,000 to help the Lewisburg fire house find its first paid chief after its first national search to fill the job ended without a new leader.

    July 26, 2014

  • Ann Targonski DA clears officer in Sunbury shooting

    SUNBURY — Three shots from a Taser could not stop 390-pound Erick Trometter from attacking Sunbury’s then-acting Police Chief Brad Hare with a large filet knife, so the veteran officer drew his gun and shot the 22-year-old city man in the leg, according to a report issued Friday.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • stauffer25br.jpg Area cyclist pedals 4,233 miles in 21 days for race

    Growing up in a Mennonite family, Jesse Stauffer often traveled the roads in Snyder County on a bicycle.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.