Great Hang Up: Student film shows dangers of distracted driving

7:39 AM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida -- Parents and teachers can talk to kids about the dangers of distracted driving, but the best lessons may come from the kids themselves.

Some students at Riverview High School in Sarasota created a powerful message--in video form.

The short film is called "The Silent Killer."  It's a mockumentary--along the lines of "This is Spinal Tap" or "Best in Show."  But this film has a serious message.

The movie is all about texting and driving--and the lives that are changed because of it.

"We were trying to appeal to a large audience," said Riverview junior Kyla Sheasley, who was screenwriter for "The Silent Killer."  "So we thought different age grounds would help a lot."

The film shows the effects of texting and driving from several perspectives.  One is a father who lost his son in a texting accident.  The school's drama teacher plays the grieving father.

The students also included the school's resource officer and a classmate who played the role of a girl who texted her boyfriend just before a deadly crash.

The students didn't need to look far to find inspiration for their stories.  The film's producer got into an accident last year while she was texting.  But she admits, it hasn't kept the phone out of her hand.

"It stuck for a while," said Taylor Russo.  "I mean, I have done it again since then, but not as much as before....and I only do it now and then."

"The Silent Killer" was one of 26 school driver campaigns nationwide funded by Project Ignition, a program from State Farm Insurance and the National Youth Leadership Council to help teenagers spread their own messages about driver safety.

"When you get kids involved in immersive media like film," said film teacher Jim Minor, "they can communicate sometimes in a much more effective manner than the best experts. So an amateur video is sometimes better than our best adult speakers."

"Hopefully, people will take a message and learn that texting while driving can really be dangerous and learn from it," said editor James Martin.

You can watch "The Silent Killer" by clicking on the video player below.