HANCOCK COUNTY ---As Hancock County Sheriff’s Office YIELD officers visit local schools this fall, the message will focus on the increasing problem of texting and driving.
In conjunction with the Remember Alex Brown Foundation, the sheriff’s office and JYoakam Advertising have put together an initiative to educate young drivers and their families about the dangers of texting and driving.
Television’s Extreme Home Makeover show recently highlighted the Brown family from Texas and helped them start the Remember Alex Brown Foundation.
Teenager Alex Brown was killed in a single car accident as she drove to high school for what should have been an ordinary day in her senior year. Alex lost her life to texting while driving. Her parents have chosen to honor her memory by educating teenagers on the dangers of driving and texting and asking them to sign a pledge declaring they will not text while driving.
"After watching this moving story last December, I just knew we needed to bring this message to our community, especially after avoiding a head-on collision this past summer with a distracted driver,” said Jason Yoakam, owner of JYoakam Advertising. “It was that week I knew we needed to get the message out about the dangers of distracted driving. I’m so thankful for the great support from our community's corporate partners. I can't thank them enough for supporting this very important safety awareness message.”
Unfortunately, Alex Brown’s story is not unique. Research reveals that 46% of drivers under 18 admit to texting while driving. Driver distraction is a factor in 25 to 50% of all car accidents, with 61% of teen drivers admitting to risky driving habits. Add to that 52% of 16- and 17-year-old teen drivers confess to making and answering cell phone calls on the road. 34% admit to text messaging while driving. The statistics are alarming and reaching epidemic levels.
“The primary responsibility of any driver is to drive safely. When a driver is distracted, his or her performance is disrupted and then both the driver and others are at serious risk,” said Tim Saltzman, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy and YIELD officer. “Please rememberthat texting while driving can be deadly, and ‘If you text, you could be next’."
YIELD, which stands for Young Individuals Educating Local Drivers, is a non-profit organization comprised of local law enforcement officers, adults and teenagers volunteering their time to educate the public on the importance of safe driving.
YIELD will be visiting county schools this fall to spread the message and ask students to “Take the Pledge” and not text and drive. The group’s progress can be followed on Facebook at RABFindlayHancockCounty. Students signing the pledge will receive a thumb ring reminding them not to text and drive. After school hour community events are also being planned to bring the program to family and friends. This community effort is being sponsored with the help of several local corporate sponsors.