According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,“distracted driving, and texting, is an increasing problem in the U.S. In 2014, driver distraction was the cause of 18% of all fatal crashes resulting in 3,328 deaths and 421,000 injuries.”
To address these alarming statistics, faculty from the School of Health Technology and Management and the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) program invited select school district faculty and law enforcement officers to Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management to learn and practice key elements of the Stony Brook University Distracted Driving Prevention for High School Students curriculum. Through an introduction, several rounds of short presentations, and training sessions using the distracted/drowsy driving simulators, school district faculty and law enforcement learned how to use advanced training aides and tools including role-plays, surveys, self-assessments, and audio/visual tools.
After completing this Train-the-Trainer program, the select school district faculty and law enforcement are able to offer the Distracted Driving Prevention for High School Student curriculum which entails the following:
- Introduction to the issue of distracted driving through the presentation of statistics and a public service video followed by a discussion of the video and a discussion about the individuals’ experiences with distracted driving.
- Introduction to the mental health component of the dangers and possible results of drowsy driving through assertiveness training skills which are taught through role-playing and learning how to speak-up as a passenger when the driver is driving while distracted.
- Interactive activities designed to expose them to the dangers of distracted driving in a risk-free environment including driving simulators, complete with steering wheel and brake pedals, a distracted walking obstacle course, and the completion of a sleepiness scale to learn about strategies for protecting their sleep.
Upon completion of the program, the school district faculty and law enforcement remarked most positively on the train-the-training session expressing their interest to integrate the curriculum in their school districts. One community outreach law enforcement officer summed up the experience in that “this training provided an excellent opportunity for instructors to provide the most current information to our young people.”