Walton High School students promise to keep eyes forward

By Erika Mahoney

May 23, 2013 Updated May 23, 2013 at 9:20 PM EDT

Walton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) With just two weeks left in the school year, Walton High School students celebrated with a spring carnival that kept safety in check.

One of the most popular activities was putting pen to paper, a pledge to not text and drive.

"I signed it for him and told myself I would never text and drive," sophomore John MacRabie said. "It felt pretty good."

As John MacRabie signed on the dotted line, he said memories of the car accident his cousin almost didn't survive came rushing back.

"He came home from a party and was texting his friends. They were listening to music and drinking. They swerved off the road, hit another car and bounced off a tree."

Now, every time MacRabie gets behind the wheel, he shuts his phone off and shares the advice with his friends to keep their eyes forward.

"I tell them to focus on the road, because they are new drivers," MacRabie said. "If they're driving, turn off their phones, because I don't want that to happen to them, they have a whole life to live for. He's lucky."

It's an easy thing to do, but students say the temptation to text and drive is always there. Especially with prom, finals and graduation parties on the mind.

"People are really anxious at the end of the year," senior Jade Gardepe said. "They want to know what's going on, if you're going somewhere. And people are telling you where to go and you're anxious to know. You check your phone and you're trying to text."

That's why students are lining the walls with pledges and handing out the eye-catching bracelets.

Those are reminders that keeping the phone away can save lives.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2011.

These students don't want to become a statistic.

"A lot of people have been just walking up and signing it immediately," said Walton Student Council President Elise Bray.

Eyes Forward is a partnership between WBNG-TV and Columbian Financial Group.

Supporting sponsors include Lourdes Hospital, the Raymond Corporation and Endicott Interconnect.