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June 21, 2013

OUR VIEW:

Fantasy and comedy often are the subjects in movie theaters. But thanks to a group of local teens and their families, the film fare and trailers have included a sobering, all-too-true warning about driving while distracted.

In a 30-second film clip, an Alexandria teen is getting ready for a night out with her friends. She gets a cellphone call from her friends as they get near her house but she can’t hear them because of chatter from the crowded car.

She wisely chooses to drive her own vehicle that night. As she departs, she drives by her friends’ car that has been stopped by police. The video can be viewed on YouTube by searching for “Madison County Indiana SADD PSA.” To emphasize the story, a message appears, “Young, wild and free doesn’t have to look like this.”

The public service announcement, produced by Brian Cook, won a statewide AAA contest for the Madison County Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter. It is being shown as a trailer in theaters in Anderson, Muncie and Noblesville.

As with most videos, the bigger the image, the larger the impact. Seeing the clip on a big screen in theaters may have the results the teens sought.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of deaths among U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just in 2010, seven teens between the ages of 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. For each mile riven, teen drivers 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers age 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

According to an AT&T poll, 43 percent of teens admitted to texting while driving. That means that a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds at a time. If moving at 55 mph, that five seconds equals to driving about the length of a football field without looking at the road.

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