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Powerful lessons on distracted driving hit home for teenagers

Adults have long been lamenting the idea that students can no longer seem to pay attention in school. Critics argue that a standard lesson taught verbally by a teacher is no match (in terms of entertainment value) for the smartphones, tablets and televisions kids are exposed to daily.

That may be true in many classrooms, but good teachers are still finding ways to connect with those they wish to educate. Earlier this week, one school taught a lesson on distracted driving that may leave a lasting impact on the students who experienced it. The lesson took the form of a staged funeral for a teenager who "died" in a distracted driving accident.

The presentation took place at a school in a very small North Dakota city. Although the mock funeral was held in a gymnasium, students sat in rows of chairs facing a podium and an open casket. Inside the casket was a senior who volunteered to act as the deceased victim. One teacher gave a eulogy, during which she told a true story about the death of her son.

According to news sources, one of the students behind this project is a junior who nearly lost her life in a car accident a year ago. She wasn't texting, but she was late to school and driving too fast. She lost control and rolled the vehicle. She says: "Kids don't understand that it almost cost me my life."

This presentation may have happened in a small, Midwestern city, but such a powerful message might be equally impactful to students in San Diego or anywhere else in California.

If you have a teenager at home, please talk to them often about the dangers of distracted driving. This is one lesson they cannot afford to learn by experience. A few moments of inattention could change or end their lives forever.

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