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The news website of Osceola Fundamental High School

Warrior Record Online

The news website of Osceola Fundamental High School

Warrior Record Online

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TRADD visits Osceola

Students practice driving on the TRADD distraction course in front of the school on November 7th.

November 1st, the Drivers-Ed class had an event with the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Department. It was called Targeted Response to Distracted Driving, or TRADD. Deputy Tindall was one of the officers that was present at the event.

This [TRADD] is the teen distracted driving course to show new drivers what it’s like when you’re distracted while driving.

— Deputy Tindall

There were three stations where students could do an activity that simulated distracted or impaired driving. 

One of the stations included an activity that simulated walking while being intoxicated or impaired. Students had to walk in a straight line on rectangular mats while wearing goggles that imitated being impaired. The goggles imitate being on drugs, such as alcohol and narcotics. One sophomore who participated in this activity said, “It was really fun, and it actually felt like you were drunk.”  

The stations were rotating, so each student could try a different activity. Another one of the activities consisted of taking pedal carts around a course once. The course was set with different common street signs that all students managed to follow. Afterwards, the officer conducting the stations would explain to the participating students that they would have to do the same course again but with impaired vision goggles. The goggles were different example of what it is like to drive drunk, on drugs, or tired. Each student received a different type of impairment and then had to pedal through the course. The trick to the course was explained by Deputy Tindall. She said, “They go through the course once and the one-way sign is going one way, and when they put the goggles on, they [the officers] flip it. Nine times out of ten the students go the wrong way because they try to base their driving from memory.” Many students missed it and after the course, they recognized that it is actually difficult to drive by memory of streets. This course was to help students realize that driving impaired is never safe or a good idea. 

The last station consisted of a rover that students have to maneuver around a track constructed of cones while distractions are present. Some of those distractions present were sports balls being thrown into the track to imitate young children, a phone that chimed and buzzed with text and call notifications, and loud comments and sounds. Student Lilian Richey that drove the course said, “It was scary, and it was really hard to turn. It stopped really fast, so I had to keep on the gas, but the gas was scary too.” Another student driver Anastasia Papric said, “I popped a ball, I got hit in the face, but it was fun. And I took a selfie at the stop sign.” Journalists Samantha Uplinger and Carly Carbaugh were able to ride in the back of this rover while a student drove. Carly Carbaugh said, “It was super fun and felt kind of like a roller coaster. It kept lurching back and forth and I was laughing almost the whole time.” This part of the course was enjoyed by most of the people who participated and strengthened their resistance to being distracted while driving.  

Programs such as TRADD are extremely necessary to influence young drivers not to drive while impaired. According to Deputy Tindall, there were over 53,000 car accidents in 2022 in Florida alone. 10,000 of those involved young divers ages 15 to 19. In just Pinellas County, there were 141 accidents involving teen drivers. Therefore, TRADD and other programs are needed to decrease the number of car accidents, especially for young drivers.