Tuesday the last presentation took place in the Distracted Driving Awareness Program at Peacock Collegiate. This brand new initiative was a collaboration between local police, paramedics, RCMP and fire department to educate Grade 11 and 12 students on the risks of being distracted by a task while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Since the first presentation at the beginning of February the emergency services visited 31 classrooms and reached out to roughly 900 students in the city and surrounding rural communities including Mortlach and Eyebrow. During the presentation students were shown a slide show of driving statistics regarding collisions and fatalities as a result of distracted driving and what classified as being a distraction while operating a motor vehicle.
Kathy Bassett, Public Education Officer with the Fire Department, said they've had students and parents approach them to say they appreciated the program.
"It just means everything to us that we're getting that feedback. That we're having that positive affirmation and that we're getting the message through. If we can save 1 life it's worth it, if we can save 100 lives it's worth it," said Bassett.
One students who was in attendance for the final presentation, Justyce Tolley whose in Grade 11, said the information hit home for him and knows that he wouldn't want to put the people he cares about at risk.
"I drive my sister to school on Tuesday and Thursday and I think I'd feel absolutely terrible if I had anything to do with her getting hurt."
Tolley noted even though he is one of the first in his group of friends to get his license, he would feel comfortable telling one of his peers to pay attention while driving.
Stressing the importance of safety all year round, but even more so as we approach summer Sgt. Tim Schwartz with the RCMP, said drivers need to thing about safety first.
"People are in a rush and try to multitask, well multitasking of driving isn't apart of this presentation or not part of getting your license. It's about staying focused, you're driving a vehicle that has got a lot of weight and could cause the loss of your life or someone else."
Bassett said they want to bring the program back next year and focus on reaching out to Grade 9 and 10 students, to hopefully break an unsafe habit before it begins.