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Students warned about distracted driving

Grant pays for presentation at local high schools showing the effects of recklessness.

May 16, 2011|By Veronica Rocha,

GLENDALE — The terrifying consequences of distracted driving struck an emotional chord Monday for some Hoover High School students.

Students attended a presentation by the Glendale Police Department and Automobile Club of Southern California that included speakers and an informational video highlighting the effects of distracted and drunk driving.

Tragic video images of traffic collisions caused by speeding and distracted driving hit home with 18-year-old Ani Chivchyan. Her former high school friend crashed into a tree after speeding on a rain-slicked road, she said.


“Texting and driving — those are some of the major things,” Chivchyan said.

“Even when I am with my friends, it’s really scary because you are responsible for their lives.”

Distracted driving has been a major concern for Glendale police, who issued nearly 500 citations to motorists last month for inattentive driving.

With the aid of the professional presentation group Motivation Media Assemblies, police officers plan to visit the school district’s four high schools in the next two weeks and reach out to students about the dangers of distracted driving.

Funding from a California Office of Traffic Safety grant has helped pay for the high school presentations, police Sgt. Dennis Smith said.

“The main goal is to make the drivers drive safely and make the right choices,” Smith said of the presentation. “It’s easy to make the wrong choice, and hopefully this will get them thinking about making the right choice.”

But the core message may not reach all students, Chivchyan said.

While the video presentation was informative, Chivchyan and her friends said they heard some students laughing during the presentation.

“I guarantee for 98% students here, it’s like any other assembly,” 12th-grader Kigen Sahakian said.

Sahakian, who has battled cancer, said he was moved by a video of a student who also had cancer and was trying to defy the odds.

Motivational speaker David Cornett said students often have a hard time acknowledging real-life dangers.

“We think we are indestructible until it does, and then our life changes,” he said.

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