Students learn about danger of impaired, distracted driving

Cranberry High School senior Grace Ecklund tells her personal story to fellow students during the annual Safe Driver Campaign in the school's auditorium on Friday. (Submitted photo)
From staff reports

The dangers of impaired or distracted driving hit home at Cranberry High School on Friday, as a senior shared her experiences of two such accidents in which she was involved.

Grace Ecklund, the keynote speaker during a Safe Driver Campaign assembly, showed photographs from the accidents, and told the gathering how her life was affected by both an impaired and a distracted driver.

In August 2016, Ecklund said she was driving a car in which her younger sister was a passenger when their vehicle was struck. Ecklund said she and her sister were OK, but two other people died in the accident. As students listened, she showed pictures from the scene with evidence of drugs and alcohol visible.

Nine months later, Ecklund said, she was the passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend when she said a vehicle operated by a distracted driver caused a crash. She said the vehicle in which she was traveling ended up on its roof.

Statistics from the national End Distracted Driving website, which were part of Friday’s presentation, included data that teenagers’ involvement in an accident is three times greater than that of an adult, 10 percent of fatal crashes in 2015 were due to distracted drivers and that cellphone use accounted for 27 percent of all crashes that year.

The assembly was held hours before the school held its prom.

As for Ecklund, she said she no longer desires to drive as a result of her experiences.