The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 8, 2014

Don't text and drive

DANVILLE – With the junior-senior prom coming up, a police chief and former state trooper are reminding Danville Area High School students to make good judgments.

Danville Police Chief Eric Gill and James J. Slocum, manager of safety services for the American Automobile Association’s Mid-Atlantic Office in Wilkes-Barre, have been speaking before juniors this week.

Danville’s prom will be held at the high school on May 17.

Gill introduced Slocum, a former state trooper, before a health class of Cheryl Seidel. They also spoke to health classes of Dave Fortunato.

“We’re working with AAA to help keep all of us safe,” Gill said.

“You are coming up to great times of your life and you need to make sure you use good judgment,” Slocum told the students.

He said the No. 1 thing students should do before starting a car is to put on their seat belt.

“As a police officer, I saw a lot of families destroyed when a son or daughter was killed in a car crash. It is the hardest thing in the middle of the night to have to tell a parent a son or a daughter was killed in a car crash. I have friends who were state police who lost a child. The pain never goes away,” he said.

With alcohol the No. 1 problem among teen drivers, he said texting is the next highest problem. The average teen sends 3,300 texts a month, he said.

“When you drive and text, the risk level is as dangerous as alcohol,” he said.

By taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 50 mph, a car can travel the distance of a football field, Slocum said. “When you look away from the road, you  can see how fast a car can drift to the left or the right,” he said.

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