College project becomes a push to fight distracted drivingThursday, March 07, 2013 by: Connie Carello
Armed with a survey and the help of the local community, a group of five Sault College third-year nursing students are prepared to tackle distracted driving and its deadly consequences.
Candace Punch, Olivia Koduah, April Lovelace, Sandra Makarewics, and Jamie Wierzbicki were assigned a grant proposal assignment from their professor, Dr. Shannon, that was aimed at the health and safety of the local community.
Originally the project stemmed from a previous class project that was a mandatory requirement of the BSCN program.
The nursing students have chosen to apply for the Healthy Communities Project Grants Program (HCPGP) to provide funding for the purchase of a distracted driver simulator that will be used to encourage the youth to put down their cellular device while driving.
The group’s collaboration in the writing of this proposal has gone beyond the four walls of the classroom in an attempt to target a local issue that has had serious consequences for many local drivers.
Currently, the fine for driving while using a cellular device is $155 dollars, a less serious consequence in comparison to the physical disabily or loss of life that a vehicular accident can potentially cause.
“My involvement with the project came from a personal experience about three years ago. A friend of mine was lost in a vehicle accident which could have been a result of either impaired or distracted driving, either way for me to see this project through to completion, is very important,” Punch said.
According to Lovelace, the project was geared towards individuals aged 24 to 34, however, through the course of the group’s research, she has found that the audience who could benefit from the use of the distracted driving simulator has grown vastly.
“Originally the plan was to target individuals in their late twenties, early thirties but as we have progressed we recognize the need to target much younger children and teenagers,” she said.
“They are learning how to drive and this could be something that the driving schools could use in order to further prepare them for their license.”
Valued at $10,500, the distracted driving simulator would be a useful tool to help prevent unnecessary vehicle accidents distracted driving may cause and would serve to further ensure the health and safety of the local community.
However, in order to receive funding for the project, the group requires the assistance of the local community in completing a short survey before April 1 based on their own personal experiences.
To assist the group in their efforts to procure a distracted driving simulator for the local area and to get involved in a cause that will make the roads of Sault Ste. Marie increasingly safer, please take the short survey today by visiting the website