by Ashley Bautista, Community Outreach Specialist
The Ventura Police Department and the Ventura Unified School District have partnered with Motivational Multimedia Assemblies (MMA) for inspirational presentations for local students at local elementary, middle and high schools during the month of April. MMA aims to both challenge and inspire young people to develop strategies to help them reach their true potential so that their life choices will not be diminished through avoidable, reckless and harmful behaviors.
Using music videos, movie and TV program clips, MMA creates a powerful impression viewed on 11 foot by 43 foot screens, conveying age-appropriate messages that encourage positive life choices. The program aims to educate students on the prevention of destructive decisions and behaviors such as drinking and driving and texting and driving. The themes include positive decision making, conflict resolution, drug abuse prevention, traffic safety and personal excellence.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Fortunately, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Presentations like MMA promotes awareness and encourages good choices.
There are many facts that show how dangerous distracted driving can be:
In 2016, a survey showed that more than 44% of Californians said that texting while driving is the most serious distraction for drivers.
In 2016, more than 54% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting on cell phone.
In 2016, nearly 40% of drivers admitted to making a mistake while talking on a cell phone.
Nationally, 3,154 people were killed and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013.
10 percent of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of crash.
Engaging in visual-manual subtasks, such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting, increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
5 seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
Despite the alarming facts, fatal crashes involving distracted driving can be prevented. Eliminating the distractions while driving can help keep everyone safe on the road:
- Never text and drive.
- Turn off your phone before you get behind the wheel.
- Don’t text or call someone when you know they are likely to be driving.
- Do not eat or drink while driving.
- Do not program your GPS, MP3 player or other devices while driving.
- If a phone call is necessary or you need reroute your map, pull over to a safe parking spot.
- Do not groom.
- Do not read.
- Do not watch videos.
- Try not to get too involved with passengers in your car.
- Finally, if something falls to the floor, pull over to a safe parking spot before trying to reach it.
For more information about safe driving please visit www.ots.ca.gov.