Death by Distraction

If you remember one thing when you get in your car, let it be this: Put the phone down.

It may save your life.

The fact is, the use of hand-held cell phones behind the wheel of a car leads to an astonishing 1.6 million car accidents per year. The alluring ding of a notification will often take a driver’s attention off of the road, rendering them oblivious to the obstacles ahead. Without complete focus on the road, drivers may not notice pedestrians crossing the street, road hazards, construction, or a change in conditions until it’s too late. This lack of concentration can put a driver’s life– as well as the life of their passengers– in danger.

Recent statistics show that one out of four car accidents in the United States are caused by texting and driving. So by taking your hand off of the wheel and your eyes off of the road even for a split-second, your life could be over.

In Fluvanna County alone, multiple student fatalities have occurred behind the wheel of a car over the past decade, at least some of them due to distracted driving which might include cell phone use. “It’s just not worth it to risk so much for something so little,” said Junior Anthony Cruz.

In an attempt to steer students away from texting and driving, FCHS has broadcast many videos on In The Know regarding the dangers of texting and driving. However, it’s a message that can’t be heard too often. In preparation for the upcoming Prom, FCHS is planning to show a video to all Homerooms called “The Last Text.”

Created by phone company AT&T, “The Last Text” is an eight-minute documentary that details the stories of three teenagers who died or suffered by life-changing injuries because they were texting while driving. Teacher Elizabeth Pellicane saw the video on Facebook and thought it was a message all students should see. “I hope it will have an effect on teen drivers. The temptation to look at a phone is stronger for teens if you look at the stats,” she said.

This is a haunting truth for many families, including some in Fluvanna, and a disaster that could easily be avoided. “I just don’t want to see more deaths caused by something that could have been prevented,” said Pellicane, who had a student die in a car crash in the first year she started teaching at FCHS.
The video will be broadcast to the entire school during Homeroom on the Monday before the prom.

You can check out the video by going to this link.

AT&T also has a website, called, that encourages people to take a pledge to pledge to do what you can to avoid distracted driving. The site includes a number of similar videos you can view, as well as a simulation that shows you the consequences of looking at your phone while driving. You can try out the simulation here.