RCS teacher testifies on distracted driving
Roxbury — Al Vigna, Roxbury Central School’s technology and driver education teacher, recently testified at a public hearing for the NYS Senate Committee on Transportation chaired by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.
The purpose of the hearing was, “to examine what steps New York State can take to make roads safer and protect people from distracted driving crashes.”
Vigna represented the NYS Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (NYSDTSEA) on behalf of driver education teachers across the state. He testified alongside key leaders such as the Honorable Christopher Hart- Vice-Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board; Commissioner Barbara Fiala - NYS Department of Motor Vehicles & Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chairperson; and Superintendent Joseph D’Amico- NYS Police.
“It was an honor to be asked to speak on such an important topic involving young drivers,” stated Vigna who spoke about the role of education and other areas to help reduce the distracted driving problem. New York has approximately 496 high school driver education programs.
Roxbury Superintendent Tom O’Brien indicated that high school students who take driver education to become safe and responsible drivers, receive a one-half credit towards graduation, obtain their night license at age 17, apply for auto insurance premium reductions, and take it in place of the 5-hour course. He further stated that, “RCS is recognized for its leadership and instruction in the area of driver education.” Roxbury offers driver education during the school year so that students can pursue full-time employment throughout the summer months during these tough economic times.
Highway death toll
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “over 5,400 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving in 2009.” Texting or talking on hand-held cell phones were the cause for many of those crashes. Drivers age 19 and under had the highest percentage of deaths for their age category.