You probably have heard the stories, read the statistics, and seen the commercials about the dangers of distracted driving. In our ever-changing, fast-paced, technologically-connected world today, distracted driving has become a very serious issue and it is up to each one of us to put a stop to it.
Distracted driving, according to the official US government website on Distracted Driving, is defined as “…any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.” It is broken down more specifically into the following types: texting, using a cell or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading (including maps), using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player.
To assist with this effort, Minnesota School of Business-Elk River holds a Distracted Driving event annually. The goal of the event is to raise awareness and to spread the message that distracted driving is an issue that can have very deadly consequences.
This year, the event was held in conjunction with the annual Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness event on Wednesday, April 15th. The event offered interactive activities, “mocktails” and snacks, informational literature, and an opportunity to speak with a representative from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Minnesota State Patrol.
The main focus of the event, which was started last year, was an obstacle course in the student commons. Students and staff were challenged to text the message, “Just left. Be there soon,” while driving a Green Machine (adult-sized Big Wheel) through the course.
The task proved to be very challenging to the participants. Not only were the drivers asked to navigate through turns, but also around obstacles in and around the course. The intention of the activity was to raise awareness about the huge potential of danger while texting and driving. Event organizers are certain that point was made.
After the event was over, an award was given to the participant that most safely navigated the course. Chris Wilson, business student, was the only participant to text the message before getting on the Green Machine and then drove through the course with his phone safely tucked away.
According to Meghan Paulson, dean of students, “I believe this event really does bring awareness to this issue. It is a good reminder that even though you may not think you are distracted by the kids in the backseat or by the burger you just picked up from the drive thru, that these are things that can take your focus away from what’s going on in front of you.”
Stay tuned for information about future events that raise awareness about prominent issues in our community. Have an idea for an event? Contact Nicole Rasmussen, community manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (763) 367-7003.