School uses physics to teach the dangers of distracted driving

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CAMERON, Wis (WEAU)--Car crashes are the number one killer of teens. The Centers for Disease Control reporting 2,700 deaths in the last year.

“I just don't think teenagers ever think it will happen to them. They think "it’s not going to be me...I’m good at texting at driving,” said Cameron senior Sarah Joosten.

So Cameron High School is asking its students to challenge that idea with physics.

“You are driving a 3,000 pound vehicle at 88 feet per second and if you are distracted that should scare people,” said Cameron physics teacher, Brent Whittenberger.

But Whittenberger says the problem is most teens have never been in a crash or seen the he's bringing the crash to them.

The scenario is this: The car was on HWY 8 just outside of Cameron. The driver hit a slick spot....and hit a tree.
The crash impact threw the passenger into the windshield.

"I want them to know the basic calculations behind what happens,” said Whittenberger.

The students were asked to take his or her height and weight and put themselves inside the vehicle at the time of the crash.

“A 130 pound student can weigh 4,000 pounds in a crash," said Whittenberger.

A mathematical equation the students say they can't ignore.

“I should speed a lot less and not text and drive,” said Cameron senior Marissa North.

“I'll probably never forget to wear my seatbelt,” said Joosten.