Teens learn about distracted driving dangers the hard way

A study, released this week, by Bridgestone Americas Inc. found that among those surveyed almost 1/3 admit to reading text messages while driving.

Still, two-thirds of the 2,000 drivers polled said they are "very safe drivers.""

"Kids always think they are invincible, that they can do anything. [They think] it's never going to happen to me," Bowsher High School Principal Linda Meyers said.

Though not as a result of the study, administrators at Bowsher High School wanted to send a message to their students about the dangers of distracted driving.

Rather the speaking to students about the topic themselves, school officials decided to bring in speakers they thought students would relate to.

"When you have someone their age saying 'Hey guys. It was me. It was my sister. It was someone who attended this school. It could be you.' then they hear that message and it hits home," Meyers added.

In addition to presentations by a Toledo Police officer and a local physician, students were able to hear from two young girls.

"Just to know I am preventing heartache. Because what my family went through was the worst thing I ever went through in my life," April Griesinger recalls of the death of her sister.

Griesinger told the crowd that her pregnant sibling was texting while driving before crashing into the back of a semi-truck, killing her and her unborn child.

The story of 20-year-old Corine Fonseca was much different, but hoped to illustrate that drivers can be doing everything right and still get in an accident.

"I wasn't doing anything bad ... I was going tanning after prom," Fonseca recalls of the accident that left her with facial fractures and several broken bones.

Bowsher held the school-wide assembly just before its own prom, to be held this weekend, and with the summer months approaching.

"Every little bit of information we can give the students about being safe while they are driving, the more the better," Meyers said.