By AUBRIE GEORGE
The Lenape Regional High School District is one driving simulator richer thanks to the hard works students put into an anti-texting while driving campaign.
The district was one of two winners selected at the end of May for the U Got Brains Champion Schools Project. LRHSD competed against 18 other schools from around the state for the grand prize of a driving simulator, which was donated by donated by the New Jersey Manufacturer’s Insurance Company. Their objective was to develop a creative, cutting edge project that brought awareness to the issue of teen driving safety.
The district-wide ”Stay Alive-Don’t Text and Drive” campaign was jump started by a $1,000 and included social media networking, and signs posted throughout school buildings encouraging students, staff, and community members to take anti-texting while driving pledges.
Lenape District TV Option two program students developed and produced a series of Educational Service Announcements about the benefits of cell phone-free driving and the dangers of texting while driving. The ESAs were shown to students at all district schools and locally on the district’s educational access television channel so that parents and the community could also view the message being spread by the campaign.
A section of the district’s Web site, allows students, staff, and community members to view the ESA’s and receive more information about the campaign.
Shawnee driver education and physical education teacher Janae Zechman, who helped launch the campaign, said students and staff were hoping to reach out to as many people and get as many people involved in the project as possible including parents and members of the community.
The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s launched the teen driving Champion Schools project, giving students and staff at local high schools across the state the change to develop campaigns that address teen driving safety and compete for prizes.
The district is already in possession of several driving simulators, which are used in driver’s education courses and allow students to actually sit in the drivers seat with a seatbelt, wheel, gas, breaks, and three monitors in front of them.
Students are taken through a virtual training program, which simulates dangerous driving situations and weather conditions, without actually putting the student driver in harm’s way. The program adds guides and pointers to the student driver’s environment that help point out dangers or recommended driving positions.
While not meant to replace the six hours on the road that new drivers are required to have, the simulators help drivers to understand the different functions of a car before they actually get behind the wheel and can also teach students how to drive in certain difficult situations all while in the safety of the classroom.