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Students Pledge to Play it Safe While Driving
Posted On:
Thursday, April 05, 2012
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PVHS Hosts Event in Honor of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

A group of Pioneer Valley High School students signed their names to papers Wednesday morning pledging to focus on the road when driving, in honor of national distracted driving month.

Event speakers near the school pool, which included Congresswoman Lois Capps and Principal Shanda Herrera, equated distracted driving to drunken driving, as a sea of blue and tan Santa Maria police and fire department personnel stood in support of the message.

“Our children are told over and over again about the dangers of drunk driving. We all know drunk driving is wrong, because it kills,” said Eileen Okerblom, whose 19-year-old son Eric was killed in July 2009 by a young distracted driver who struck Eric as he rode his bicycle on Telephone Road east of Santa Maria.

“We need to make sure we also tell our children, over and over again, the dangers of distracted driving,” she said. “Distracted driving is also wrong, because it kills.”

Though Okerblom was a graduate of St. Joseph High School, students at Pioneer have heard his story.

A select group of juniors and seniors volunteered to sign the bright green pledges Wednesday in the hope of saving lives and raising awareness.

“They represent one small part of the Pioneer student body,” Herrera said.

Friends Esmeralda Ramos, Valiriana Zerate and Liliana Jacobo, all juniors, decided to sign the pledge after hearing stories similar to Okerblom’s.

“We don’t want to see more people die,” Zerate said.

Junior Brittany Rincon signed the pledge after a family friend was killed while skateboarding because someone was texting and driving.

“It can kill more people,” Rincon said.

Article by Gina Potthoff, Education Writer / SM Times / 4/5/12

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