Safe Driving Caravan Tour

Senior Danielle P. holds up a free microfiber cloth from Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety presentation given by Bobby Fitzmayer. (Photo by Lindsay Perry/Student Contributor)

Student Contributors

On Oct. 25, Geof Crankshaw, Community Traffic Safety Project coordinator, held an assembly at Cranberry High School to help spread awareness for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Many teens are aware of certain dangers of driving such as driving under the influence, but many don’t realize the risks that are involved with actions as simple as loud music or cell phone usage.

Crankshaw brought in speakers to advocate for safe driving using presentations. He also had a motorcycle safety program and impaired and distracted driver simulators.

Senior Brayden M. attempts the distracted driving simulation set up in the library to see possible effects of what could happen if you are not watching the road. (Photo by AJ Howard/Student Contributor)

The assembly started off with a presentation by Michelle Johnson. “Every year about 4,000 teens die in car crashes each year,” she said.

This topic is very important to Johnson because of the loss of her son, Conner, due to a car accident in 2011. She now travels to local school districts during National Teen Driver Safety Week and shares safe driving tips with teens.

Johnson said that almost anything can impact driving: “Car crashes are the #1 cause of deaths among teens.” Texting, putting on lipstick, eating, and having distracting passengers can cause car crashes.

Johnson went over three reasons why texting and driving can cause a crash: hands off of the wheel, eyes off of the road, and mind off of the driving.

Johnson recommends all drivers and passengers wear seat belts because lives can be saved.

Michelle Johnson displays a T-shirt that has a picture of a skull made up of the most common forms of death for teenagers, each represented by a different colored dot. (Photo by Janice Irwin/Student Contributor)

Michelle Johnson gives students a presentation about the real effects that distracted driving can have on a family. (Photo by Janice Irwin/Student Contributor)

Students were then lead outside to listen to the fundamentals of avoiding a motorcycle crash.

The presenter, Bobby Fitzmayer, then shared a personal story about his experience with a motorcycle crash. “Accidents happen in a blink of an eye,” he said.

Fitzmayer explained to the students about how a motorcycle’s traction to the road gets less and less the more you lean. Fitzmayer brought along a motorcycle equipped with special equipment to show the student what it feels like to lean too far on a motorcycle.

“You have about one second to react after losing traction to the road,” he said.

Fitzmayer reminded the students to always wear a helmet and protective clothing while riding a motorcycle.

Bobby Fitzmayer gives a presentation on motorcycle safety to a group of juniors and seniors on the front sidewalk of Cranberry High School. (Photo by Rebekah Brown/Student Contributor)

Bobby Fitzmayer demonstrates how the SkidBike works as part of Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety program and training courses. (Photo by Lindsay Perry/Student Contributor)

Bobby Fitzmayer passes his personal helmet around the group showing the damage caused by slamming into a car because of that car pulling out in front of him at the last second. (Photo by Rebekah Brown/Student Contributor)

Following the motorcycle safety program, students were able to use impaired and distracted driving simulators. The simulations consisted of a monitor, steering wheel, and brake and accelerator pedals.

By using these simulators, students were given first hand experience on what it is like to be behind the wheel while impaired or distracted. The simulators were brought to the assembly in hopes that they will prevent students from performing unsafe actions behind the wheel.

Senior AJ H. begins the drunk driving simulation set up in the library to bring awareness of what happens while you are under the influence. (Photo by Lindsay Perry/Student Contributor)

Students experiment with different possible scenarios on the “wheel of death” that will tell them the percentage of how likely the distraction is to cause an accident while driving as part of Johnson’s presentation. (Photo by Rachael McCauley/Student Contributor)

Cranberry High School’s staff and students are very thankful for Crankshaw and his team for coming in and holding the safe driving assembly. Students were further educated on the dangers of impaired and distracted driving, and this assembly helped to spread awareness for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Students pledge to be safe and accountable drivers by signing a crash car supplied by the State Police. (Photo by Lindsay Perry/Student Contributor)

Story, video and photos provided by student members of  Cranberry Chronicles, Cranberry High School’s journalism/publications group.