High school students with keys in hand

Montrose High School staff, students, and community must find a way to convince students to driver safer.

Signs+posted+in+North+Texas+along+freeways+and+major+roads+of+the+No+Texting+while+Driving+ordinance++to+remind+drivers+to+say+off+their+phones+and+be+alert.+

Signs posted in North Texas along freeways and major roads of the No Texting while Driving ordinance to remind drivers to say off their phones and be alert.

Josie Coulter, Reporter

 As kids get older their freedoms expand and they get handed a set of keys. The open road is a place for lessons to be learned, but the roads of Montrose have a dreadful way of claiming the lives of students who make minor mistakes. This trend must end and with students at Montrose High School have become more aware of the risks of driving the hard way and new ways to get teens to drive safe are dreadfully needed. 

Last year {2017}, 67 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed in traffic crashes in Colorado. This is a 22 percent increase from 2016—when 55 were killed—and the highest number of fatalities for that age group since 2008,” according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

 These statistics were taken in 2017, nearly three years ago and are the most recent stats CDOT has. Three years ago the fatality rate of teens was at its highest. With a new heartbreaking death in Montrose of a beloved student each year, it is evident within the MHS student body and teens in the area that inattentive driving is a prominent problem. 

  “I just felt really scared and shaken up in the moment. I really had no idea what to do, and I regretted not being more careful in the moment even though the accident wasn’t entirely my fault,” an anonymous source from MHS said. 

 A few bumps and scuffs are expected from high school students who are novice drivers so it is alarming that the road has claimed so many lives and most recently Adrian Guerra. 

 Students with experience with the hair-raising incident of a car crash say that it could have been prevented in some instances if distractions would have been at minimum, and recommend it for new drivers. 

 “I think as a new driver it’s important to minimize distractions, for example keep music at a volume that still allows you to focus. Also I would avoid driving when you’re super tired,” anonymous said. 

 The student also recommends students to be alert and drive on the defensive side. Meaning to not only to be aware of all of your own movements while on the road but everyone else’s as well. 

 “I think it’s important to drive as a defensive driver because you would be surprised how easily an accident can happen when you’re not paying good attention to other drivers,” anonymous said. 

 The Colorado Department of Transportation incorporated the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program after a devastating fatal crash in Greely when four teens were T-boned and killed. 

 “GDL laws help teens gain important driving skills gradually while putting restrictions on the number of passengers permitted, banning cellphone use, setting a curfew and requiring driver education. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, half of all unintentional injury deaths for Coloradans between ages 5 and 24 are due to motor vehicle crashes,” CDOT said. 

 This is one way the state has involved itself and the GDL works to some extent. Although since it has been implemented reckless driving still occurs among students, and it is frankly ignored by most students. Ways for students to drive safer should be implemented by the school or city with ways to convince the stubborn mind of students.   

 In Crosby Texas, the high school there has a system known as Pocket Points. The app always for students to rack up points for their phones being off during the school day and while driving. Once a student gets a certain amount of points local businesses reward them with meals and gifts. 

We need the help of staff, students, and community members to keep our roads safe, so that students can have their freedoms but don’t pay the ultimate price because of one mistake.

 

If you have any ideas of how the students at MHS and other high schools can be convinced to drive safely, comment  below. Thank you.