BETHEL — Telstar Regional Middle/High School held a distracted-driving workshop Thursday morning to show students the dangers of texting and talking on cellphones while behind the wheel.

Teachers and employees of several emergency services set up a variety of stations to teach students the importance of not driving while distracted.

Jana Barnello, an anchor and reporter for WGME 13, spoke to students about the importance of driving without texting or talking on cellphones.

“We are a phone-obsessed culture,” Barnello said, “and mobile technology has changed the way we operate our society. In the world right now, more people have cellphones than they have toothbrushes. That shows where our values are.”

Barnello admitted she has two cellphones on her at all times.

“I mean, who needs that?” she asked.

She ended her presentation by playing camera footage at a mall showing a woman distracted by her cellphone. The woman had her head down and ended up walking into the side of a fountain and falling into the water. As students laughed, Barnello said, “See, even talking and texting can be dangerous.”

“I hit myself in the head with a door this morning, and I wasn’t even on my phone,” Barnello joked. “Imagine what would happen if I was driving and texting.”

Telstar’s Future Business Leaders of America group had a distracted driving awareness table set up in the hallway outside the gymnasium, with artwork provided by FBLA member and freshman Becca Howard. FBLA Vice President Annaliese Smith told students that “no text is worth your life.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as ‘Hey, how are you,’ or ‘lol,’” Smith said. “Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get in a car accident. You don’t have to text or talk while driving. You can take control and decide when you respond.”

Smith told students about a new app available through smartphones called “AT&T Drive Mode,” which will automatically respond to any text that is delivered to you while you’re driving over 25 mph.

“If you’re going over 25, and somebody tries to text you, your phone will automatically respond by saying, ‘I’m driving right now,’” Smith said. “You can change it to your own personal message, so it can say ‘Shut up,” or ‘Please don’t text me right now’ instead.”

FBLA member and sophomore Liam Gallagher told students the average text takes about 4.6 seconds to send.

“If you’re driving 55 mph and you go to send a text, that means you will be driving about the length of a football field while being distracted,” Gallagher said. “How many of you think you can drive the length of a football field in a straight line?”

Other students involved with the FBLA who helped with the presentation were FBLA President and senior Ricky James, senior Tabitha Corriveau, juniors Anna Tyrina and Samantha Mallory and sophomore Nick Johnson.

One station showed students what it would be like to be strapped to a backboard in the event of a serious car accident. Med-Care Ambulance paramedic Berta Broomhall talked about the consequences of texting and driving, using the backboard as an example.

“A few little seconds of texting while driving can end your life or someone else’s,” Broomhall said. “How would you feel if you went off the road and killed your best friend because you were distracted?”

Broomhall added that if anybody were in a situation where they were being strapped to a backboard and were in bad condition, it’s “vital that you’re honest.

“We need to know what you were doing at the time of the crash so we can treat you,” Broomhall said. “We’re not the police. Be honest with us, whether it was texting, drinking or driving fast that caused the crash.”

One of the popular stations at the workshop was the Seat Belt Challenge station, led by Sgt. Doug Maifeld of the Rumford Police Department. The station, he said, was developed to show students “how easy it is to buckle and unbuckle your seat belts.

“One of the most common reasons I hear about why people don’t buckle their seat belts is that they’re uncomfortable,” Maifield said. “The way that companies are making cars now, they aren’t as uncomfortable as they used to be. There’s no excuse for it.”

The challenge involved teams of four students taking turns sitting in each seat and buckling their seat belts as fast as they could. Each student had to sit in every seat in the car and buckle their seat belt before they could finish the challenge.

The school was assisted by Bethel Rescue, Bethel Fire Department, Maine State Police, Oxford County Emergency Management Agency and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

Crystal Aylward, administrative assistant for the Oxford County EMA, said last week that the workshop would be “a test run” of sorts for each department, because this will be the first time they have had a series of stations that students could interact with. She added that more distracted driving workshops may be held, depending on the feedback from Thursday.

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