WNY Law Firm Helps Students Learn Dangers Of Distracted Driving

June 8, 2012 Updated Jun 8, 2012 at 9:20 AM EDT

By WKBW News

June 8, 2012 Updated Jun 8, 2012 at 9:20 AM EDT

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. ( WKBW ) It is prom season at Williamsville South High School, and other schools across Western New York. It is also time for the all important anti-drinking and driving speech - but now students say there is another danger on the road.

Charley Faletta, a senior at the school tells Eyewitness News, "We hear a lot about drinking and driving, but we don't hear about the distracted driving aspect, and see how dangerous that is."

This year students got that through a program set up by lawyers from the firm of Gelber and O'Connell.

Lawyer Tim O'Connell said, "We see the consequences of distracted driving everyday, and people don't modify their behavior until something tragic happens. We want to bring the message now before something serious happens."

The legal team uses a presentation along with some high tech driving simulators to get their message across to students.

Williamsville South Principal Daniel Ljiljanich noted, "The number one message we want to put across is that we want to keep them safe. We think this presentation with the simulator helps send that message. They say you can be distracted in many different ways, including texting, eating, even thinking."

O'Connell added, "In every activity there are manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions."

Senior Alexander Hahn added, "What is eye opening is the amount of time texting takes up...4.6 seconds...and that is the length of a football field."

Amherst Police Officer John Miller says the program and simulators truly provide a lesson that will go a long way.

"It gives the students the opportunity to fail without the harsh consequences. It also gives the cost breakdown, what a ticket costs, a DWI, so there are lessons to be learned," Miller said.

Attorneys Hershel Gelber and Tim O'Connell are hoping to take this program across the country to encourage teens to just say "no" to distracted driving.