CU Advanced Public Relations Class Raising Awareness of Dangers of Cell Phone Use While Driving

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s Advanced Public Relations class is implementing a public service campaign April 15-17 to raise awareness on the dangers of cell phone usage while driving to CU’s faculty, staff and student body and the general public.

The theme for the campaign, which was proposed by the students of the class, is “Don’t be a clown…put the phone down.” It will be documented on several promotional items designed by Dr. Kara Presnell, associate professor of communications/PR, to raise awareness for the campaign’s various publics.

Class student Lauren Shrader, of West Chester, Ohio, said the class conducted extensive research for the campaign, which revealed very alarming facts that were extremely unsettling. She said, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, six percent of traffic crashes are caused by the use of cell phones, resulting in 2,600 deaths, 330,00 injuries and $4.3 billion in related costs.

In addition, the class discovered using a cell phone while driving a vehicle quadruples the risk of a collision, and it is the single highest cause of driver inattention contributing to car crashes, near crashes and incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Furthermore, the class conducted a survey that resulted in 169 respondents from various CU students, faculty and staff members and visitors to the campus. The survey produced several statistics — one being that more than 90 percent of the 169 respondents use a cell phone while driving and 83 percent believe either talking or texting while driving is dangerous.

“Due to the results of our research,” said Maggie Argenbright, of Lebanon Junction, Ky., “we decided the students, faculty and staff needed to be further educated about the risks of cell usage while driving. Therefore, we decided to form an informational booth.”

The informational booth will be set up in the Winters Dining Hall on Wednesday, April 15 through Friday, April 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is open to the public.

The Advanced Public Relations class will be giving away car air fresheners designed to resemble a cell phone and ink pens, both of which relay the theme of the campaign.

Additionally, the class will be collecting and drawing names for coupon promotion cards and gift cards. Also, the class will be displaying a PowerPoint illustrating the dangers and risks involved in cell usage while driving, and the class will feature an hands-on demonstration of how it feels to be distracted while driving.

The Advanced Public Relations class is funded by a WEL grant, which emphasizes writing, engagement and learning.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.

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