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Dublin Jerome Students Get Behind The Wheel For Distracted Driving Lesson

Maria's Message is now on the curriculum in one local high school.

It’s not math or science in this high school classroom;  today it’s a driving test.  Students like Michael Romanelli and Olivia Lacy of Dublin Jerome High School are learning the dangers of distracted driving by using a simulator.

“I think it's helpful, it really shows what it's like to be distracted while driving without putting people in danger,” says Romanelli. “I think it's a very good idea because a lot of kids just think that they can text and drive and not be one of those kids to get in an accident,” explains Lacy.

According to the U.S. Government, six drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 die every day due to car crashes. This is why Officer Chuck Collier is passionate about having driving simulators in the classroom.  

Dublin Jerome High School’s simulator was donated by the Maria Tiberi Foundation, and is used in health classes to help educate students.  “Using the simulator you have all the consequences without physically and financially having the consequences. If we fail outside the classroom, someone is going to get a ticket or in a crash,” says Collier. 

Let’s face it, being a first time driver is hard enough – even without the constant the temptation of a cell phone. “I'll hear a few texts or whatever, but I tend to stay off my phone and keep my eyes on the road,” says Romanelli. “I know that there are some people that try to text one character at a time and think that they can get away with it, but it’s not something that is easy to do,”  explains Lacy.

But lessons like this one are what Officer Collier says could one day save a life. “It's important because we are creating habits that last a lifetime. If we show them now how dangerous it can be, they are less likely to do it when they are older,” says Collier.  This extra bit of caution can allow students like Michael and Olivia to have the opportunities to pursue their dreams. “I want to go into finance,” explains Romanelli.  “I think I want to be a Marine Biologist or a teacher,” says Lacy. 

New laws for drivers under the age of 18 years of age during the first 12 months with a license:

  •  No driving between the hours of 12 am and 6am
  •  No driving with more than one non-family member in the car
  •  All passengers must wear a safety belt at all times
  •  No mobile communications while driving

New laws for drivers under the age of 18 years after having your license for 12 months:

  • No driving between the hours of 1am and 5 am
  • The limit of passengers is the number of safety belts in the vehicle
  • All passengers must wear a safety belt at all times
  • No mobile communications while driving