The Hardy Telecommunications Youth Advisory Board learned at a meeting December 22 that even a few seconds of texting while driving can result in a serious accident.
The students, meeting at the company’s Lost River office, watched a documentary titled “Distracted: The True Story of Ashley Umscheid.” Ashley Umscheid was a 19-year-old Kansas State University freshman who was killed in May 2009 when her vehicle crashed along a Kansas road. The investigation revealed that she had been sending text messages on her cell phone while driving. The Foundation for Rural Service released the film in an effort to warn teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
Derek, Hardy Public Relations/Business Development Representative Heather Robbins, and the students talked about how easily and how quickly one can veer off course or lose control by texting or talking on the phone while driving. The board learned through the video that a car traveling 65 mph will travel the length of a football field in three seconds. If typing and sending an average text message takes only six seconds, the driver still travels the distance of two football fields during that time.
“That’s more than enough time and distance to find yourself heading into a ditch off the side of the road or crossing the center line into oncoming traffic,” Derek said. He advised students to pull off the road or use a hands-free device if they need to take a telephone call while they’re driving.
The board also talked about the back-up systems that Hardy uses to keep services going in the event of a power outage. In addition to a generator, the Lost River office, which is Hardy’s central office, has a room containing batteries that kick in when the electrical power fails.
Hardy Technology Director Bill Schmidt told the students that the equipment in the battery room becomes so hot on its own that two air conditioning units run 24 hours a day, even throughout winter. Otherwise, the batteries, which contain jellied acid, would overheat and the acid would seep out.
The back-up power systems are why a person’s landline telephone will continue to work even if there is no electrical power available. Each of Hardy’s remote units around the county has battery back-up power. While the batteries would be drained quickly and cannot power Hardy Telecommunications’ entire system indefinitely, the back-up power provides enough time for electrical power to be restored or other power sources, such as a generator, to be set up.
The purpose of the Youth Board is to educate the students about Hardy Telecommunications and its operations as well as to get information from the students as to what uses of technology are most important to them. The group discusses different Hardy services, including telephone and Internet, with the goal of offering services that today’s youth most value. This year’s board is comprised of six students, three each from East Hardy and Moorefield high schools, representing grades 9-11. Each student will serve a one-year term. The board meets four to five times throughout the school year.
This year’s board is comprised of East Hardy High Junior Parker Baranowski, Moorefield High Junior Brooke Shockey, EHHS Sophomore Miranda Cook, MHS Sophomore Jared Beard, EHHS Freshman Brandon Benjamin, and MHS Freshman Rebecca Merrill.