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DeKalb High School event to promote safe driving

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:49 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – Kaitlin Allen knows the temptation to answer a text while driving.

She’s hoping to help DeKalb area residents learn why they should abstain from texting and other distractions behind the wheel.

On May 17, DeKalb High School leaders will use a little more than 10 percent of the $25,000 Celebrate My Drive grant the school received last year as part of a national State Farm Insurance contest promoting safe teen driving. They will host a parking lot party at the school to promote safe driving in the community.

“I think people don’t realize what they are doing until something actually happens to them,” said Allen, a 17-year-old DeKalb High School student.

From 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 17 in the main parking lot at DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road, community members will be able to participate in a number of free activities that demonstrate what it’s like to drive while distracted or impaired and learn how to be safer.

“This is an opportunity to reinforce the areas that are the primary reasons why collisions take place and to make sure people make good decisions,” said Mark Sykes, a driver’s education teacher at the school.

Michigan-based Kramer Edu-tainment will bring a distracted driving simulator, a video-game like system that allows people to see the dangers of driving while doing other things such as texting. The company will give a presentation at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the auditorium.

Participants also will be able to drive a golf cart while wearing drunk goggles with the assistance of driver’s education staff from DeKalb and Sycamore high schools.

The Illinois State Police will bring the “seat belt convincer,” a machine where a person is strapped into a seat and slid down a ramp going 5 to 7 mph to simulate the importance of wearing a seat belt in a crash.

The Future Farmers of America will bring a tractor to demonstrate farm safety and the Kishwaukee Family YMCA will speak about bicycle safety. Additionally, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., DeKalb police will do child seat inspections.

The event also will include raffles for free Blue Tooth headsets and bicycle lights.

“I hope what people get out of the event is: ‘When I’m driving, I should only be focused on driving,’ ” Allen said. “ ‘I should not have my phone out. I should not be eating. I should not be drinking. I should not be doing any of that.’ ”

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