New York State is well represented by Rye Neck High School senior Josh Segovia.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
New York State is well represented by Rye Neck High School senior Josh Segovia. One of 50 students selected from across the country by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), he attended a Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C. earlier this month.
“My generation benefits from the rapid advancement of technology, but we are also the victims of this progress,” said Segovia. “It has become a curse in a way. Texting and driving is nine times more dangerous than drinking and driving. I am proud to take an active part in the promotion of safe driving practices.”
Well aware of safety and preventive measures, Segovia is a member of Rye Neck High School’s highly active chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). Sponsored by DCH Toyota City and Pace BMW, who also sponsored Segovia’s visit to Capitol Hill, SADD includes over 10 percent of the student body. Having served as the chapter’s faculty advisor for 13 years now, Susan Hannon had a hunch that Segovia would exhibit the leadership skills and the independence required to attend the summit when she selected him.
“On top of having a difficult course load, Josh had to follow a particular protocol to participate in the summit and meet with legislators,” she said. “He’s been so impressive that he’s blown us away.”
Indeed, he embraced his role in Washington by meeting with federal and state leaders, as well as attending presentations and interactive training sessions. Segovia proposed our legislators employ social media to increase awareness about distracted driving. He encouraged them to take a pledge on www.itcanwait.com to never text and drive. He and his summit peers are partially responsible for the growing numbers of pledges on the site, up to 3 million.
“It’s important for our legislators to be able to say ‘I took the pledge, so you can, too,’” Segovia suggested.
He also encourages his fellow teens to be advocates. “In a survey, 78 percent of teens agreed that if they’re in a car with friends, and one of them spoke up against texting while driving, they wouldn’t do it,” he shared.
“We know first hand the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of keeping our eyes on the road. A quick glimpse of the phone could be potentially tragic, so I’m proud of the way New York is handling the issue,” noted the student.
Indeed, New York has recently increased penalties for teens texting and driving. Those caught using a hand-held cell phone on the road now face a 60-day suspension for a first offense. A second offense within six months will revoke a probationary license for six months and a junior license for 60 days.
Armed with staggering statistics and helpful preventive measures, Segovia has brought his efforts back to Westchester and is now addressing the distracted driving issues in his own community. Preparing to host his own summit, he will be developing a national youth action plan and will be involved in activities that will culminate in May during Global Youth Traffic Safety month.