Students to learn news lessons on distracted driving - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Students to learn news lessons on distracted driving

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - After a serious texting and driving crash involving a student and a sheriff's deputy earlier this summer, students in McMinn County will be getting an extra lesson on distracted driving when they go back to school next week.

"A thousand potential drivers are on the campus every day, and that's excluding the adults, just students," said McMinn County High School Principal John Burroughs.

And one of those students made a near-deadly mistake earlier this summer.

"One of our students was headed to football practice morning workouts, and we found out he'd been in a terrible accident with a sheriff's deputy," he said.

That's why Burroughs said students will be getting an extra lesson this year on the dangers of texting and driving.

"I just try not to answer it unless it's an actual phone call," said student Jonathan Bailey, who has been driving for a year and a half now.

"I've done it before, but i really try not to," he said.

But seeing what can happen is a good reminder to keep his eyes off his phone. Texting makes drivers 23-times more likely to crash. Last year, more than 18,000 distracted drivers crashed in Tennessee -- 138 of those were in McMinn County.

"It's a really stupid mistake...nothing but problems can come from it," Bailey said.

"Your cell phone's probably a major one (distraction). Radio's a big one, too. And a lot of people have their music on
their phone," said 19-year-old Skylar Jones. She knows firsthand young drivers face a lot of distractions while behind the wheel.

"Just pay attention and don't let things distract you. It's not just you who could be hurt, it's somebody else," she said.

"The more we can just imbed that message, you've gotta be safe while you're driving and not distracted... the more
maybe we save a life," Burroughs said.

Both the student and the deputy suffered several broken bones in the crash. They plan on working together when the school year starts to help spread their message.
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