Ready-to-use distracted driving lesson plans

Distracted driving is an epidemic that disproportionately affects our children. Recent studies show that many parents are texting, accessing social media and engaging in other distracted behaviors while driving their  children. Therefore, our children are at an increased risk of being in a crash because of their parents’ driving behaviors. Additionally, when they begin driving  teens are three times as likely to die in a distracted driving crash than any other age groups. This is due to driver inexperience, addiction to smartphones, and unfortunately, many parents being poor role models for distraction-free driving.

Traditionally, students learn about distracted driving in high school, at or just before they will get their licenses. End Distracted Driving and Safe Roads Alliance didn’t want to wait until teens are ready to drive to teach them about distracted driving. Working with elementary teachers, elementary content developers  and experts, we created lesson plans for second- through sixth-grade classrooms. These free, ready-to-use lesson plans include everything teachers need to present to students in the classroom. The program helps parents and educators teach students about the dangers of distracted driving as well as pedestrian safety. Students are taught to recognize when their drivers are distracted and how to respectfully, using “I” statements, speak up and ask drivers to put their phones down. We need your help in creating a generation of kids who won’t drive distracted when they do get their licenses.

Our “Kids Speaking Up for Road Safety” program is the first- of- its- kind to start teaching children long before they get their licenses about distracted driving and has created substantial interest. We are working with researchers from the U.S. Department of Transportation to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson plans using confidential anonymous surveys. We are asking for teachers’ help in gathering data through anonymous surveys, and in appreciation for doing so, we are offering teachers gift cards in the amount of $100, thanks to the generosity of our
sponsor the Honda Foundation.

Below is a link to one of the animated videos in the lesson plans:

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This lesson on distracted driving gave me the tools and guidance I needed to teach my students about this important topic. The lesson teaches a clear strategy students can use to speak up against distracted driving in a positive and respectful way. The lesson is clear, easy to follow, and engaging. I’m so glad that this resource has been created for teachers across a variety of grade levels to use!

Mrs. Katie whitehurst , 4th Grade Teacher

I was fortunate enough to be able to teach the Elementary Kids Speaking up for Road Safety lesson to my 5th grade class. It was such a positive experience for all my students. They were willing to discuss situations in which they have been around distracted driving and how the SAM strategy would definitely help them in the future. The videos provided information in a kid friendly and entertaining way. I think this lesson should be embedded in all elementary schools as distracted driving is a huge issue that our students face now as passengers and will face in the future as drivers. Thanks!

Janell Laramee , 5th Grade Teacher

The teachers felt that it was great that it encouraged the children to speak up to drivers to stop being distracted while driving. It also helped the children see they shouldn’t be distracting drivers. The assembly was informative. Safety is an important concept to explore in so many ways. I read through the material and like the SAM statement (SEE A PROBLEM, ADDRESS A PROBLEM, MAKE AN ACTION PLAN) This can be used for a lot of situations. Wishing you the best!!!

Catherine Fiorino , Principal in Lowell, MA

I found [these presentations] easy to use and the students were engaged throughout. We were provided about 50 minutes for the presentation, which is ideal, followed by about 20 minutes for questions. There were so many questions by the students we could have easily gone another 15 or so minutes… It was fun to give the presentation, the kids loved it, and so did I.

Fred Gluck , Loveland, CO

Special thanks to the law firm of Anapol Weiss for their support of this program.

About the Lesson Plans

The lessons aim to teach children about distractions and being distracted, recognizing when someone is driving distracted and empowering them to speak up in distracted driving situations. The goal of these tools is for children to positively influence parent and caregiver driving behaviors and increase the likelihood that they will choose to drive distraction-free when they get behind the wheel.
The 30-45-minute lesson plans are positive and empowering. Through guided discussion and a variety of activities, students explore different types of distractions that occur outside and inside the car. Children will learn about distraction, multi-tasking and non-confrontational communication skills.
The lessons are a complete toolkit for teachers and feature videos narrated by an engaging, animated character. The lesson plans include several ancillary resources including a facilitator’s guide with an advisory letter home to parents, student worksheets, cross-curricular activities appropriate for each grade level, safe driving pledges, and a printable “I” statement reference guide for students.

Here is a link to a PowerPoint that provides an overview of the lesson plans, including the three video/animations, and which teachers have been using, with the lesson plan materials, to give the lessons in classrooms and virtually.