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High School Students Learn About Safe Driving

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Nearly 1,000 students across 21 Southern Tier school districts participated in Broome County's Teen Traffic Safety Day at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Thursday. The event was hosted by the Broome County Traffic Safety Program and the STOP-DWI initiative. 

Students had the chance to hear from guest speakers, experience safety belt demonstrations by the New York State Police, take part in texting simulations through virtual reality headsets, and learn about the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on driving.

Despite being below the legal drinking age, one Johnson City High School sophomore says now is the right time for teens to be learning about the dangers of drinking and driving.

"This is important especially for us younger kids," said Sean Moran. "We just learn all the stuff they're telling us about and we just take it all in and just remember it for when circumstances come when you have to make the right decision."

A sophomore at Harpursville High School, Mackenzie Whidden agrees with Moran that being taught the dangers during their teenage years will help them make better decisions in the future.

"It's important because it'll be in their mind and it'll sit there until they can actually drink legally," said Whidden.

Friends and Chenango Valley High School students, Stefani Schmidt and Samantha Bennett both felt that the guest presentation by Jonathan Mueller, a man who was severely injured by an impaired driver, was the most beneficial part of the afternoon.

"Seeing the guest speaker talk in front of everyone and just telling us his story was probably the most important," said Schmidt. Bennett added that the guest speaker truly showed "how dangerous drunk driving can be."

Mueller's presentation changed Schmidt's mindset when thinking about how quickly drinking and driving can change someone's life.

"You really think about how dangerous and scary it can be and how you can change and how it can change your life," said Schmidt.

According to Broome County, motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among adolescents.