Penticton Secondary School students warned about distracted driving

When Parker Thompson gets behind the wheel the speeds are higher, but the stakes are the same.

Parker Thompson

When Parker Thompson gets behind the wheel the speeds are higher, but the stakes are the same.

The 17-year-old race car driver from Red Deer, Alta. stopped in at Penticton Secondary School on Oct. 2 to speak with students about distracted driving, a factor in 34 per cent of all crashes involving people ages 16 to 20 between 2009 and 2013.

Thompson got behind the wheel of a go-kart at eight years old and now races in USF2000, an Indy Car training ground and the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy racing series. Thompson told students he feels safer pushing two-litre engines up to 240 km/h than he does driving on any Canadian highway.

Thompson is on a 60-school tour across Canada to tell students who are just getting their licenses about the dangers of distracted driving.

“I wanted to give back. I saw the emerging problem of distracted driving, how many lives it was taking and it was a no-brainer because when we’re in the race car we know first hand what five seconds of distraction can do,” Thompson said. “It’s life or death and it’s the same thing on the roads.

Being the same age as many of the students he is speaking to, he doesn’t lecture, but converses with them.

“It’s me talking peer-to-peer and I think that really connects with the students very well and it really hits home,” Thompson said. “I’ve been in a few crashes myself on the racetrack and I know what crashes are like. I would hate for any student to go through what I’ve gone through.”

It goes beyond texting or playing on your phone Thompson said.

“What you have to understand about distracted driving is that it’s not just texting and driving as a lot of people think, it’s anything that distracts you when you’re behind the wheel,” Thompson said.

Conversing with your passenger, applying make up and eating were a few examples of non-phone related distractions.

Being distracted behind the wheel is an issue Grade 10 Pen High student Winston Nguyen thinks isn’t being taken seriously enough.

“Most kids think they know everything. They think they’re gods, they’re cocky,” Nguyen said.

During Thompson’s presentation students viewed the short film Distracted Driving Josh’s Storycreated by London Health Sciences Centre’s Trauma Program and the Children’s Health Foundation, exploring the tragedy of a young man killed in a motor vehicle collision involving distracted driving and the effect on his family and friends.

Nguyen hopes this story hit home with his fellow students.

“I think it was a really good idea to get the Josh Field story because I know a lot of people can connect to it in a personal way. My friend, they also died because of this,” Nguyen said.



Just Posted

OHA alumna welcomed as new assistant coach for women’s varsity team

Alyssa MacMillan attended OHA from 2011 to 2016

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Okanagan dancing to the beat of many drums at the Pow Wow Between the Lakes

Day two of the Pow Wow Between the Lakes featured a vast array of dancers of all ages

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

Robbie Kelm edged out Dr. Lloyd Westby to take the Great Ogopogo Bathtub race title

Osoyoos woman who threatened mom and baby with butcher knife sentenced

Sharon Constance Forner pleaded guilty to one criminal charge and was sentenced

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Most Read