Distracted driving can be deadly for teenagers

Teenagers, please drive responsibly. Now is a good time of year to remind teenagers (and others) that you should always drive as though you had a police officer riding with you.

Places, technology and, unfortunately, death and injuries statistics change. However, one common threat of teenage driving still rears its ugly head. Today, we call it distracted driving.

Parents and teens, are you aware of the following information about Hancock County?

Facts are these: The No. 1 leading cause of death to teenagers is automobile accidents.

Fact No. 2: Most teenagers feel that they are immortal.

Fact No. 3: In our county, we have an organization called NASA (no, not the space guys; it stands for Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse).

Tim Rethford is the executive director. I would encourage you to check out Tim’s website, nasa-hancock.com. On the website, you can learn that NASA was established in May of 1990.

You will also find out that education is the chief mission of NASA. You will also find out that NASA enlists the aid of all four school corporations in Hancock County.

Students involved in NASA meet every month, during the school year.

Please check with your respective schools to get involved.

I would like to call your attention to a very well-written article by former State Sen. Beverly Gard. Sen. Gard’s article appeared in the April 16 edition of the Daily Reporter.

We did not collaborate on these similar articles. But she is absolutely 100 percent correct on her assessment that data does back up the need to stem underage drinking.

To quote the senator: “Much has been said recently about the targeting of underage drinking by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Underage Drinking task Force.”

I heartily concur with their decision to work toward saving lives. It is worth the effort. The argument that it might affect the ability of those students to get a scholarship is a weak argument.

I took a quick survey of young people. These are the students that are in “in the know” in their respective schools. They have told me that being “busted” at one party probably would not affect scholarship chances.

These students went on to tell me that the students should know better. Secondly, if a pattern occurs, there could be implications.

NASA is also a part of this Hancock County Underage Drinking Task Force.

Others are working to curb distracted driving. Two such fine organizations are SADD and MADD. I would also invite you to check out their resources at indiannasadd.org and madd.org.

Bottom line? Teenagers, please be safe, and please take this advice from a person who is not only a father and a grandfather (of a teenager about to get his license) but also a driver education teacher.

Please remember: Drive like you had a law enforcement office driving with you.