TUCSON, Ariz.(KGUN) — April is distracted driving awareness month and students and a crossing guard in the Marana Unified School District want to help spread the word to keep drivers safe.
Ethan Price and Samantha Attebery go to Marana High School. They say driving is a big part of their lives and safety is priority number one. They want distracted drivers who text while behind the wheel to stop.
"My friends will record TikTok’s in the car about their bad driving which I think is ironic,” Attebery said.
“I’ve heard that people get bored with driving so they want something to do so they have it in their hand and using and just occasionally look and stuff and I’m like any second you look away is a danger,” Price said.
The duo is part of the “Phones Down, Just Drive” initiative to raise awareness about deadly mistakes made on the road. They also say that social media is a big part of the problem.
"Texting and driving is really dumb. Technology is evolving and we are using it more, it's becoming a major issue. It’s not like 20 years ago when people were like don’t be on your cell phone driving and scrolling on TikTok it’s really, its occurring now more than it has been,” Attebery said.
The non-profit was started by the families of Caitlin Festerling and Paul Garcia who were killed by a distracted driver in Oro Valley in November of 2019. The goal of the organization is to educate and help save as many lives as possible.
"I have a thing in my car where I have to put my phone, I don’t look at it. I have apps that shut out music, even if my music is too loud. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s pain and if I ever got into a crash because I was on my phone that would be the worst feeling,” Attebery said.
Crossing guard Antonio Esparza wants to keep drivers focused, especially while driving through a school zone.
"Put that phone away, pay attention to what you’re doing, protect your kids. They can do that by putting their phones away I’m doing that by being out here as a crossing guard,” Esparza said.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation about 3,000 people are killed distracted drivers every year, it's a number that advocates are trying to change.
“Put it away its unneeded, no text is that important,” Attebery said.
"When it comes to other people’s lives it’s not something to gamble with. Why put the temptation in the way when you can cause so much harm to other people and yourself,” Price said.
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Shawndrea Thomas is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. Shawndrea is living her dream as a journalist who’s passionate about making a difference. Share your story ideas and important issues with Shawndrea by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.