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The Current

The Current

Editorial: It’s time for a drunk driving wake-up call

Editorial cartoon by Desi Kreiter

Just imagine if you were a parent and got a call from a California Highway Patrol officer about your child. Immediately, your heart would drop and you would feel sick to the stomach, trying to wake up from a terrible dream.

On March 15, California Highway Patrol Officer, Mark Zellhart, gave a safety driver presentation in the Performing Arts Theatre to all students on campus. At The Current we support Officer Zellhart’s presentation and informing words. This presentation was a much-needed wake-up call after a recent drunk driving incident on school grounds, pictures of which were widely circulated on social media.

Officer Zellhart graduated from Bear River and has a total of 17 years of experience as a CHP officer. He commented on the issue of a Bear River student driving under the influence on May 6. It was a huge learning experience for other students on campus to protect their friends and themselves.

“(The student) He would have died if he went into that pool because the cover would have wrapped around the car,” said Officer Zellhart. “That would be his coffin.”

Everyone needs to look after one another in order to ensure that nobody is in harm’s way.

“If any of my friends were going to try to drive in a certain situation I stop them and either drive them myself or call an adult,” said Liam Hayes, a senior.

“I would take their keys and lock them away if one of my friends were going to arrive under the influence,” said Kailynne Van Winkle, a senior. “I love friends so much and would do anything to keep them safe.”

Officer Zellhart encouraged all students to talk to their parents about picking them up at a party that could potentially get out of hand. He ensures that all parents are willing to keep their children safe.

“Make that phone call, suck it up and forget about getting in trouble, but at least you will be alive to do it again,” said Officer Zellhart.

He highlighted the issue of of texting and driving as a major distraction from the road. He also explained how it gives the driver less time to react to dangerous situations while on the road.

“Studies have been done and the average time to react is a second and a half,” said Officer Zellhart. “We all get a second and a half to make quick decisions. Never take your eyes off the road for more than a second and a half or not at all.”

Officer Zellhart gave a shocking statistic about those who do text while driving.

“Those who text and drive either have been in a crash or will be in a crash in the future,” said Officer Zellhart.

Students felt that texting and driving needs to be eliminated from all drivers on the road to ensure they reach their destination safely.

“Texting and Driving is very dangerous, where it can put yourself into harm as well as other drivers around you,” said Liam Hayes, a senior.

“I went to a defensive driving class, and I learned that texting and driving is a huge distraction even if you are going slow,” said Abby Weir, a junior.

Officer Zellhart also emphasized how important seat belts are to the safety of passengers and the driver. He talked about how the positioning of the seat belt is essential in making sure the person is not harmed in a crash by the belt.

“They design the seat belt to go over the shoulder and across the hips because it is the strongest part of your body,” said Officer Zellhart.

He announced an alarming fact about the importance of wearing a seat belt in case of an accident.

“An interesting fact, is that 90% of all people ejected from a car do not wear their seat belts and 80% of them die,” said Officer Zellhart.

Bruins were astounded by the high percentages of fatalities when the passengers in the car do not wear their seat belt.

“This statistic is very interesting and sounds credible because I know people who have been in crashes and have walked away without harm because they wore their seat belt,” said Stephanie Merrill, a junior.

Principal Amy Besler felt that she has an obligation to keep all Bruins from harm in and out of school.

“They wanted me to call them day or night and they would come get me because they wanted me to be alive. I encourage all of you to have that talk with your parents and I know they will understand,” said Principal Besler.

Students thought that Zellhart’s presentation was very informative and helpful for future circumstances.

“I think that how he brought up amazing statistics was a way that helped inform us it takes a football field length to adjust your driving at a high speed,” said Jacob Rivett, a junior.

“My father works with Officer Zellhart and I think that he did an excellent job with stating statistics that captured the viewer’s attention,” said Lauren Glomson, a junior.

On the other hand, while the presentation captured some educational attention, some students thought otherwise.

“He was not serious enough,” said Megan Bruining, a senior. “It did not feel like telling us a lesson just stuff that we already know. I think visuals would have been a good idea to go with the presentation.”

“I did not really learn anything new,” said C.J. Paul, a junior. “It just felt like a regular presentation without a serious tone. I think if our school did Every 15 Minutes, it would make a difference.”

We at The Current believe that Officer Zellhart’s presentation was a huge step toward encouraging Bear River students to drive motor vehicles with care.

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Editorial: It’s time for a drunk driving wake-up call