CALUMET CITY | The backdrop was a high school basketball game and it was as great of a place as any to get a message across to teens and adults alike.
Friday night at the Lemont at T.F. North boys basketball game, several T.F. North students got the word out about safe driving with their "Operation Teen Safe Driving."
Though they handed out information and had people sign a pledge to not text and drive, they showd proof of what can happen when you are distracted as a driver. That includes being impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It takes character to stand up in front of classmates, parents and adults and it takes leadership qualities to be proactive.
T.F. North senior Alexandria Hall and junior Sekiyah Ware were the leaders of this program. Both said their moms were in accidents which involved distracted driving. Fortunately they were not hurt, but it hit them personally.
"You don't realize you take your eyes of the road for five seconds and look what can happen?" Hall said. "We want to encourage people to pay attention and do not be distracted by anything from talking on the cellphone to driving impaired."
The 40-plus students all wore bright green T-shirts with an outline of an Illinois license plate with the words "If you want to survive, don't text and drive."
Both have been driving just under two years and said events like these tend to get the point across because there were giveaways as well as an information booth.
"We want to get the message across and let people know that you have to be safe on the road," Ware said. "We did this tonight because it was a good place to do it and there are a lot of people."
This was under the direction of Fred Schuldes, a driver's education instructor and coach at the school.
"These kids took this on themselves to do this," Schuldes said.
Principal Dwayne Evans said it caught his attention.
"As someone who always has a cell phone in his hand, it makes realize you have to be more careful," Evans said. "I admire these kids because they are being proactive and trying to make it safer."
Part of the program included wearing goggles which blur a person's vision. They were designed to give you blurred vision as if you had a .18 alcohol reading, which is more than twice the legal limit. Students shot free throws wearing those goggles.
"They call them 'fatal vision goggles' because you can't see very well," Hall said. "We want to show how you will see (or not see) if you are impaired."
The other problem with alcohol is there is still peer pressure to have a few drinks or drugs at a party.
"Tremendous," Ware said. "You have to learn to make smart choices, but the pressure is all around us."
These kids are making the right choices.