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New video teaches teens dangers of texting while driving

BEEKMANTOWN - After nearly two years of work, students at Beekmantown Central School now understand the dangers of texting and driving - from their peers.

Early last year, the BCS chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions received a grant from State Farm Insurance's Project Ignition - a program which addresses risky driving behaviors. The money was jointly used by the SADD club and the school's drama club to create a video about how using a cell phone while driving can lead to dangerous situations.

"We wanted to get across that texting while driving is dangerous and people should know about this and it can get people killed and it's not a joke," explained 10th grader James O'Connell, who wrote the script for the two-minute video, filmed by Bruce Carlin of Media Central.

O'Connell, who is a member of SADD and the drama club, played "Bobby," the younger brother of "Jane," who is the driver in the video. During the video, Jane is seen driving while talking on her cell phone. When she receives a text, she loses focus of her driving, narrowly missing a child crossing the road.

"Talking on the phone while driving, everyone knows you're not supposed to do it," said 11th grader Holly Paolicelli, who played Jane. "Texting still is kind of questionable."

"It's still a distraction," added O'Connell.

Cindy Allen, past advisor for the SADD club who provided coordination during the project, said having teenagers as the actors is what made the impact in the video.

"Having it done by your peers, versus having professional actors, makes a big difference," she said. "That is the focus of the SADD club - destructive decisions, especially by teenagers."

And, the two clubs aren't looking to keep the video in-house. Allen hopes to make copies of the film and send it out to principals in the area, for them to utilize in their schools. She added she has also sent the film to the national SADD club and Project Ignition.

"We want to get the point across," O'Connell said. "Not just here ... we want to get it as far as we can."

To view the video, visit http://exposureroom.com/members/bcarlin/videos.

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