Local high school students learn dangers of distracted driving from motivational speaker, virtual reality

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According to an El Paso Police Officer, this year so far has had 47 fatalities on the road in which 16 could've been prevented.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With a recent uptick in crashes and some fatalities happening on the road, some El Paso high school students got to experience and listen to the dangers of distracted driving.

Officers with the El Paso Police Department said many of these fatalities could’ve been prevented.

A couple thousand students at Franklin, Irvin and Chapin high school got to learn the dangers of distracted driving by listening to impactful stories and through virtual reality.

“I feel like as each generation is younger, the more things we are exposed to,” Sarayi Garcia, senior at Franklin High School shared, “So I feel if we get more stuff, we’ll get more educated in what we’re actually doing.”

State Farm, EPPD, and EPISD teamed up to present the distracted driving assemblies on Tuesday.

According to an El Paso police officer, this year so far has had 47 fatalities on the road in which 16 could’ve been prevented.

“What we do as a job, is having to tell a relative, ‘You killed somebody, they’ve killed somebody, somebody killed somebody you love,’ and that whole process, emotional process I liked in today’s presentations,” Officer Christina Mendoza said, “It’s not to speak with you what will happen criminally. It’s more like what we all experience on a personal and professional level with fatalities that could’ve been prevented.”

Students listened to personal, firsthand stories from Bobby Petrocelli, who’s wife died from a drunk driver crashing into their Houston home.

Petrocelli’s message – to make students realize choices come from certain influences, “Whether it’s driving or any other area, that’s why I try to combine it all so they see not only in driving, but every area of life, our brokenness can affect our decisions and how we see ourselves and others.”

After Petrocelli asked students if his speech made an impact on their lives, majority of them raised their hands.

“I don’t want to die of course and I’ll be more cautious of what I do. Even tell my mom and dad too because pulling out your phone, everyone is doing that. Texting, you’re in a rush, so I would definitely take it into consideration,” Garcia said.

State Farm plans to host more of these types of assemblies for more borderland high schools in the future.

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