Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan Presents “It Can Wait” Assemblies at Wakefield Memorial High School and Northeast Metro Regional Vocational High School

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan with Wakefield High School students who signed the pledge to not text and drive.

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was the keynote speaker for two assemblies at Wakefield Memorial High School and Northeast Metro Regional Vocational High School for “It Can Wait,” a presentation that informs students of the dangers of texting and driving.

As part of the program, students at both high schools were asked to sign a pledge to never send a text message while driving, to send text messages to friends who are driving and urge other family and friends to do the same.

“We hope that the teens took away this important message today and leave with the awareness that texting and driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving,” District Attorney Ryan said.  “As District Attorney, I see firsthand the tragic results of distracted driving.  These tragedies can be prevented if we all commit to never to texting, emailing or taking our eyes off the road while behind the wheel.”

“It Can Wait” is an anti-texting educational presentation sponsored by the MDAO and its private non-profit partner, Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc. The program includes a powerful documentary, produced by AT&T, that features stories from individuals whose lives have been forever altered by texting while driving.

Wakefield Police Chief Richard Smith joined District Attorney Ryan for the presentation at both schools.  As a way to combat the urge to look at their phones, Smith urged students to keep their phone out of sight and out of reach to ensure complete focus on the road.  

District Attorney Ryan informed the students about the dangerous consequences of distracted driving and reminded the students how the ability to communicate instantly with cell phones has dangerous consequences behind the wheel. Along with Smith, Ryan informed the students that crashes are 23 times more likely to occur while texting and driving and that distracted driving has become the number one killer of kids between the ages of 16 and 19.

Olivia Spiers, a student at Wakefield Memorial, left the assembly understanding how texting and driving can affect those around her.

“It’s important so students really realize how dangerous it is to be distracted behind the wheel,” Spiers said.

Though texting and driving has become the number killer for young adults, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 47 percent of adults admit that they have texted while driving.

“You always hear about so many incidents that occur, and it’s just not worth it,” said Matt Lacoriello, a student at Wakefield Memorial.

More than 1,000 students participated in the programs.


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