On Friday, December 17th, all the Buffalo County 10th grade students from Alma, Cochrane-Fountain City, Gilmanton and Mondovi School Districts participated in the third annual Tenth Grade Prevention Day. Tom Goeltz from the Distracted Driving Survivors Network and National Safety Council was the featured presenter. Mr. Goeltz has spoken to hundreds of students throughout the Midwest about his personal tragedy losing his daughter and her unborn child due to a horrific crash caused by a person who was texting while driving. Goeltz’s story and powerful message caught the attention of sophomore students. Goeltz identified distracted driving as texting, calling, focusing on passengers in the vehicle and other distractions in the vehicle that pull the driver away from focusing physically, visually, or cognitively on the road. Goeltz illustrated for students how reaction time is decreased when a driver, either a student or an adult, tries to multitask while driving. Goeltz also asked students to pledge to not drive while distracted and encourage parents to do the same.
The topic of distracted driving was selected as target prevention area for Buffalo County tenth graders based on local research data. The third annual 10th grade prevention day was sponsored and funded by the Buffalo County Partnership Council (BCPC). BCPC is a local coalition made up of students, educators, law enforcement, university faculty, and public health advocates that provide collaborative prevention programming to educate youth and their families to make healthy choices and positively influence people and policies.