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The Times
  • DCS students learn the dangers of texting while driving

  • Julia Jaikin said she has witnessed drivers distracted with their cell phone or electronic device.

    Jaikin said this was the inspiration behind her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts, as she arranged a safety course where students would be tested with their abilities to text while driving.

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  • Julia Jaikin said she has witnessed drivers distracted with their cell phone or electronic device.
    Jaikin said this was the inspiration behind her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts, as she arranged a safety course where students would be tested with their abilities to text while driving.
    “There’s a lot of texting and driving,” she said Monday afternoon outside of Dolgeville High School, where seniors and driver education students got to test their own abilities with texting and driving.
    “It took a lot of initiative on her part to come up with this, so that students can see just what can happen with texting and driving,” said Dolgeville Police Chief Richard Congdon during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “I would like to do more programs like that with students to see the affects of different distractions.”
    Congdon said there are drivers who play video games while driving or use their iPods. Congdon said drivers can be ticketed for having any electronic device in their hands, including a GPS unit.
    The chief said Jaikin met with him, Dolgeville Superintendent of Schools Christine Reynolds, Dolgeville High School Principal Tim Jenny and the school’s driver education teacher about how to arrange the course for students to drive through. The course included students driving around a closed off section of the school’s parking lot with obstacles, including drawings of a black cat and an elderly woman on cardboard boxes.
    Jaikin would then text the student driving as they made their way around the course. Then two volunteers rolled kick balls in front of the car while they were texting back.
    Some of the drivers swerved or got a ball stuck under their vehicle while driving.
    Jenny noticed how the driver’s ability would be impaired when they would start texting.
    “Everyone said they’re not going to have any problems ... but instead they look down at their telephone and their eyes are off the road,” he said.
    Jenny also said it is “a very timely issue.” “There are a lot of accidents by not just students, but adults, too,” said Jenny as students took their turn with the course.
    Olivia Doerrer, a senior, said driving the course was difficult.
    “It was hard to concentrate while texting,” she said, noting the hardest part was maneuvering around the kick balls that were thrown in her path.
    Drivers, after they ran through the course, took a survey on what the experience was like and then signed a pledge to help end distracted driving. The pledge included promising to be a good passenger and speaking out if they see the driver of their car is distrcated and to encourage their friends to drive phone-free.
    According to the Girl Scouts website, the Gold Award means a scout will “ join the ranks of generations of young women who have made a difference both locally and globally. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts and therefore is a commitment [they] make and complete as an individual.”
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