By Kelly Urban
JOHNSTOWN — The message is clear: Texting and driving do not mix.
The Distracted Driving Program, a division of the National Save a Life Tour, made a stop Wednesday at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in Richland Township and showed students the potentially deadly consequences of texting while driving.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic,” said Jonathan Saigon, a speaker with the tour. “Statistics show that 50 percent of accidents are caused because of distracted drivers.”
The program featured driving simulators and participants were put through different scenarios while holding a cell phone that every 30 seconds chimed in with a text message.
“It shows you what could happen,” Saigon said.
There also were graphic videos playing that featured real footage from accident scenes to further bring home the message.
“We want people to stop and think about it and know how dangerous distracted driving can be,” Saigon said.
Penn Highlands student Joshua Pavlosky said the simulator wasn’t exactly like driving in real life, but it opened his eyes to how easily it is to become distracted.
“I don’t text while driving because you need to pay attention to the road,” the Johnstown resident said. “When you respond to a text your brain switches its focus to that text and you lose what your main focus should be.”
His advice to those who text and drive is to save it until you get home.
“Get home safely so you’ll be able to text again,” Pavlosky said.
For more information on the program, visit www.savealifetour.com.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.