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Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • T'ville students earn money from safe driving program

  • Illinois driving laws are making a difference in teens’ lives — and Thompsonville High School students are taking notice.



    The Operation Teen Safe Driving program has been created to aid in teen driving awareness. Since the program started, statistics have shown a drastic decrease in fatalities related to car accidents.


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  • Illinois driving laws are making a difference in teens’ lives — and Thompsonville High School students are taking notice.
    The Operation Teen Safe Driving program has been created to aid in teen driving awareness. Since the program started, statistics have shown a drastic decrease in fatalities related to car accidents.
    In October 2009, Jesse White announced that teen fatalities related to car accidents had decreased by 50 percent, as compared to 2008. The OTSD program has greatly contributed to these statistics and has challenged students to become actively involved in teen safe driving throughout Illinois.     
    Over the last three years, the Thompsonville High School Driver’s Education program has received $2,000 in grant money — $1,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation and $1,000 from Allstate.
    Heather Kirkland is the director of the OTSD Grant at the high school. Kirkland collaboratively worked with her students to create ideas for grant consideration. The plan was successful, and the grant was awarded to the high school this school year.
    "The safe driving program has really made a difference in safe teen driving throughout our community," Kirkland said.
     
    “School Zone or Construction Zone Are No Cell Zone”: This slogan is well known at Thompsonville High School as well as around the community. The students used this slogan to design T-shirts, banners and restaurant placemats.
    The placemats were distributed to the K & D Café in Thompsonville, and Cathy Ann’s Italian Villa and Pizza Hut in Benton. The students also created school signs that read “School Zone = No Cell Zone." The community is constantly reminded to refrain from using their cell phones in the school zone.
    At the beginning of year, a law was passed stating that the use of cell phones is prohibited in school zones and construction zones. The use of cell phones in these areas will result in a minimum of a $75 fine.
    In February of 2009, the students at Thompsonville High School participated in driver’s education safety week. Kirkland and the students created activities for the students to participate in each day.
    Each high school teacher created trivia questions relating to their subject area and safe driving. The students who answered the questions correctly received a prize.
    On the last day, the students watched Oprah Winfrey’s show called “The Dangers of Texting and Driving.’’ The students also signed a banner and pledged to refrain from texting while driving.
    "The students and teachers look forward to this program every year and hope it continues in the future," Kirkland said.

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