Safe driving events aim to promote student awareness

FIU wants to drive home the dangers of sitting behind the wheel while under the influence or communicating via cell phone.

The university will hold events on both campuses to warn students about mixing alcohol and drugs with driving and to discourage phone use while on the road.

“We hope that students will take it seriously,” said Xuan Stevens, who is coordinating activities Oct. 29-Nov. 2 . “We hope that students will not only understand why they need to stop certain behaviors when it comes to safe driving but will encourage others to do the same.”

More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use contributes to more than one million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. annually.

Beginning Oct. 29, FIU will host lectures, information tables and interactive learning opportunities. Florida Highway Patrol will bring out a mobile breath-alcohol testing unit and a mobile detention unit to underscore the seriousness of DUI. A “roll-over” simulation will emphasize the importance of buckling up. A “distracted driving” challenge will invite students to participate in a simulation focused on drivers’ cell use. And “Put It Down” stickers will be distributed in hopes that students will affix them to the back of their phones.

The last effort, part of a wider campaign by the Florida Department of Transportation to keep cell phones out of drivers’ hands, sounds interesting to sophomore Alex Feliciano, who agreed it would make her think twice about making or answering a call while driving.

“Having a sticker on your phone, it reminds you,” she said. “I guess it’s like being brainwashed, but in a good way. It kind of puts you on a guilt trip.”

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