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Group to address distracted driving

Tabitha Ricketts | Thursday, March 29, 2012

First-year student Morgan Carrol is forming a new committee at Saint Mary’s to promote distracted driving awareness and prepare for a lecture in April.

“I’m looking for students who understand the danger [of distracted driving] and who aren’t afraid to speak out about their views, who understand it’s important,” Carrol said.

Diveeta Thompson, founder of Stop Texting AND Driving Distracted (STANDD), will address Saint Mary’s students on the perils of distracted driving April 25.

“She’s going to talk about her story,” Carrol said. “Her own son [Rodney Thompson] was killed in a texting and driving accident.”

According to the STANDD website, the organization’s mission is “to encourage individuals to Stop Texting AND Driving Distracted, while promoting safety and empowerment through knowledge, education, and purpose.”

Thompson has been featured in multiple newspapers and radio shows and spoken at churches, high schools and universities. She even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2010, according to the STANDD website.

Carrol said she hopes the lecture will teach students how dangerous it can be to drive distracted.

“I want them to come see the bigger picture and how little things like texting and driving can take away from life,” Carrol said. “Hopefully there’s a big enough turnout to bring awareness to that and bring [the committee] more members who understand how important this is.”

She said she was inspired to combat distracted driving after hearing Thompson speak.

“When I was a senior in high school, she came to speak at my school, and I was very moved by what she had been through and what she had done about it,” Carrol said. “I realized, this isn’t okay … It was something that I wanted to take into my own hands and help.”

Carrol said she wants the committee to put up a series of fliers and sponsor promotions to publicize the event.

“We are going to come together to promote fundraising and collaborate ways to bring awareness to texting and driving,” she said.

She said the committee will sell STANDD bracelets at a table in the student center atrium leading up to the event.

“There are also pledge forms that we have where students can pledge not to text and drive,” Carrol said.