Owego Students Look to Keep Eyes Forward

By Matt Porter

December 13, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Owego Free Academy senior Chris Lapinski is giving up his lunch hoping to have his classmates sign a pledge to give up their texting habits while driving.

Lapinski recalled two accidents in the last few years: one involving two students and another involving a teacher and her mother, all four died.

"A couple of years ago we had a student, I mean a teacher and her mother pass away on [Route] 17 when a lady was texting and driving and smashed into their vehicle and caused it to blow up," remembered Lapinski.

The Eyes Forward campaign sponsored by WBNG asks young drivers to stop using their cell phones while driving.

In 2009, 995 people died in accidents involving cell phones according to the US Department of Transportation. That's accounts for nearly one fifth of the total deaths on US roadways that year.

"It can happen to anyone and we're not invincible," said Lapinski, "And even if we think we're the perfect drivers or perfect texters..anything can happen."

The pledge offers suggestions on how to keep eyes forward including making last minute calls before driving or, if you have a passenger, hand the phone to them instead.

Stephanie Bird, a senior, said the pledge is a smart idea.

"I don't have my permit yet, but I know that it's a very dangerous thing," said Bird. "I've been in the car with my mom texting and driving. She was actually texting once and we drifted off the road and almost hit a guardrail."

And senior Josh Soban said the pledge would be a good idea for adults too.

"I know my mother will do something with her phone, and I say, 'Ma, you gotta put that down,'" said Soban.

Students pledging to save a life, maybe their own.

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