Thomasville High School students put their hands to use Friday morning to sign a hands-free pledge. The school’s Peer Leadership Program took signups from fellow students, declaring they would refrain from having their cell phones in their hands while driving. Each student who signed the pledge also got a device that enables drivers to use their phones without having it in their grasp.
THS government and history teacher Janet Cable had the idea and shared it with her peer leadership class. She then spoke with the Thomasville Police Department, which provided the hands-free devices and information about the new law, which has been in effect since July 1. TPD Sgt. Jabar Dunbar and Officer Shaquille Thomas spoke to the class about the importance of hands-free driving.
“It would be a good reminder to not be on the phone,” Cable said.
The peer leadership group has several committees, and the committee that took on the hands-free pledge works with the police department on different areas. “I gave them the idea,” Cable said. “Everything on the table, they came up with it. They made the flyers.”
With the TPD providing information on the law, the peer leadership group handed out flyers detailing the penalties if a driver is caught using a phone while on the road — a fine and one point for a first offense, stiffer fine and two points on a second offense and third point and a larger fine for a third offense.
As THS senior Kaitlyn Leach pointed out, four points on a license could mean it’s taken away. The law also stipulates drivers can’t surf the web or explore social media on their phone and it doesn’t have to be in a driver’s hands to break the law. Leach noted that an officer can cite a driver for breaking the law with the phone resting on the driver’s shoulder. “Even at a stoplight, it’s still a ticket,” Leach said.
The pledge states the student wants “to keep my family, friends and community safe while on the road. I pledge to always drive distraction free. I pledge to never allow my phone to distract me while I am behind the wheel. I pledge to be #HandsFree GA.”
Pledges were signed and turned in during Friday’s lunch period, with the peer leadership group manning the table and canvassing the dining areas.
“Another good thing is students see students setting an example,” Cable said. “it’s their peers and classmates spearing the word.”
She also said the event was an example of the community working together to make the school more positive. “We’re grateful to the Thomasville Police Department for making this possible,” Cable said.