High schoolers choose safe driving


Mark Sykes, DeKalb High School driver’s education teacher, brainstorms with his free study hall class Monday on ways to raise votes for Celebrate My Drive, a contest to raise awareness of safe-driving habits like not texting while driving. The winning school will receive a concert by Kelly Clarkson. Voting starts on October 18. More information can be found on twitter @dekalbcmd.

By Katie Charland

Students at DeKalb High School are spreading awareness about safe driving.

Celebrate My Drive, sponsored by State Farm, is a contest created to inspire awareness about the dangers of texting and driving. Running Oct. 18 to 26, anyone older than 14 can participate by going to celebratemydrive.com and joining. The first prize winner will receive $100,000 and a hometown concert by Kelly Clarkson. The school with the most votes through the website is the one that will win, according to celebratemydrive.com.

“We’re trying to get the whole community involved,” said Mark Sykes, DeKalb High School’s driver education teacher.

Sykes said there are about 2,500 schools participating throughout the country.

“I think it’s a great program,” said Kaitlin Allen, 16, a student at DeKalb High School.

She said she’d been in the car with people who texted and drove and they swerved toward the side of the road.

The students involved in this program are very aware of the dangers of texting and driving, Sykes said.

“They want to be here,” Sykes said.

Sykes said the program is very much student-led. Students are helping out with getting the word out about Celebrate My Drive and promoting safe driving by putting up signs and flyers, giving out buttons and other items. The students made a video about the whole event.

“There have been approximately 20 citations written from 2012-2013,” said DeKalb Police Cmdr. John Petragallo on texting and driving.

Petragallo said that effective Jan. 1, people can’t use a telephone at all in the car unless it is hands-free. This law would make using a handheld device while driving illegal anywhere in the state.

“People should be aware,” Petragallo said.