The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 26, 2012

Shady awarded grant to stop texting

Students at Shady Spring High School pledged to refrain from texting while driving, which officials say is now the leading cause of death for young people.

State Farm Insurance agents, representatives from the Division of Motor Vehicles, and West Virginia state troopers spoke to driver’s education classes at Shady Spring Tuesday to urge students to be safe while behind the wheel.

Michelle and Daniel Ormandy, with State Farm, presented the school with a $2,000 grant to promote “Celebrate My Drive,” a zero tolerance campaign for texting and driving.

“We’re helping spread the word through the community to give these students the tools and the knowledge to make the right decisions,” Michelle said.

She and Daniel have a 16-year-old daughter, Danielle, who has her license, and a 10-year-old son, Alex, who will be driving in just a few years, so she said she understands the concerns from a parent’s point of view as well.

“This is a great cause for us to get behind,” Daniel said.

The three driver’s education teachers, Pat Schlager, Vince Culicerto and Machelle Bumgarner, all agreed that this campaign was much-needed to prevent future accidents.

“Zero tolerance. That’s our objective,” Schlager said. “We want to impress safe driving skills and we are blessed to have community leaders come to speak to our students.”

Senior Trooper J.B. Frye urged students that if they need to use the phone while driving, to pull over before doing so.

“There are more accidents involving cell phones than there are DUIs,” Frye said.

Students could sign a pledge board from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office Tuesday, promising to not text and drive.

Many students also participated in a poster contest to warn against the dangers of texting while driving. The winners were Josef C. Heller, Allyson D. Carter and Morgan E. Hylton.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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