.

Students, DA and Cell Company Tell High Schoolers 'It Can Wait'

DanversCARES and the Danvers High School chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions spent 45 minutes on Wednesday reminding students about the dangers of texting while driving.

For years, issues such as drunk driving and substance abuse have threatened the health and safety of high school students.

But in recent years, a new danger has emerged – texting while driving. And on Wednesday, student leaders plus the district attorney and police chief all told juniors and seniors at Danvers High School about the dangers created by texting and driving.

For years, issues such as drunk driving and substance abuse have threatened the health and safety of high school students.

But in recent years, a new danger has emerged – texting while driving. And on Wednesday, student leaders plus the district attorney and police chief all told juniors and seniors at Danvers High School about the dangers created by texting and driving.

Patricia Jacobs, president of AT&T New England, noted the prevalence of cell phone by asking the packed auditorium how many people didn’t have a cell phone. One person raised their hand.

“I’m shocked,” she said. “I’d like to meet you.”

She lauded Essex County District Blodgett, who she said has been aggressive in educating about the dangers of texting while driving and prosecuted the first case nationally against a driver who killed somebody because they were texting while driving. Aaron Deveau of Haverhill was found guilty last June in the death of Donald Bowley Jr.

“As he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs it was one of the most depressing scenes I have seen as district attorney,” Blodgett said.

If Deveau was at Wednesday’s presentation, Blodgett said he would ask him: “Was it worth it?”

After a car crash, Blodgett said investigators will often get the driver’s cell phone, either voluntarily or with a search warrant.

“I will not allow an innocent person – an unsuspecting driver in this county – to suffer a loss because of foolhardy behavior,” he said.

In Danvers, there were 156 rear end crashes "with no attributable cause," Police Chief Neil Ouellette said.

"We can pretend there was no distracted driving in that" number, Ouellette said. But it is likely that texting while driving contributed in many of those crashes, with were about 15 percent of the 1,060 crashes in all of 2012 in Danvers.

In 2012, there were 24 crashes that were know yto specifically caused by texting while driving - each of those by the admission of an involved driver.

"Fortunately, none of those were fatal," he said.

Ouellette noted there has been one serious crash in Danvers in recent years directly attributed to texting while driving. In February 2011, a Danvers man's Nissan Altima went off the White Fuel Bridge and into the Waters River because he was texting.

"Fortunately for him, it was low tide," Ouellette said. "He was banged up but he survived."

He could have drowned to death if it was high tide, Oeullette said.

Oullette noted, like Blodgett, that examining a cell phone is an important part in investigating a car crash. Last year, a pedestrian was struck and killed on Route 114 and police searched the cellphone as part of the investigation.

Ouellette said that the computer forensics unit at the District Attorney's office can get any texts back and that deleting text on a phone does not make it disappear. It is also common practice for police to contact cell phone carriers to preserve records.

As police chief, Ouellette notes that he carries a mobile phone and gets many messages while he is driving and does not check those messages while driving.

During the program, DanversCARES presented scholarships to six students to attend the In Control Driving Academy where they will learn about accident avoidance and the dangers of distracted driving.

The scholarship recipients are Juniors Leah Chiampa, Rachel Ingraham and Marissa Palermo and Seniors Lexi Bean, Eric Martin and Megan Southerland.

The scholarship is paid for by a DanversCARES Youth Leadership Board bake sale and matching donations by IRA Lexus of Danvers and Phil Richard Insurance.

Sean Ward February 07, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I have one of course but I think cell phones or more specifically smartphones are one of the worst things that have happened to us. My family goes to dinner and they all spend the whole time texting or face booking. These things are turning us into zombies.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something