Safe Driving Club Awarded $1000 from Brain Alliance of NJ


Want to increase your risk of getting into an accident by 23 times?

It’s simple. Send a text.

Texting while driving makes a driver twenty-three times more likely to get into an accident. Statistics likes these inspire members of the Safe Driving Club and its adviser, Coach Brielle Moreno, to campaign and spread awareness about the dangerous combination of texting and driving. The club also promotes safe and defensive driving.

In its second year of existence, the club recently met with Susan Quick, a representative from the Brain Alliance of New Jersey, at its after school meeting on January 13.  Quick provided a brief summary of the Champion Schools Program, which challenges students at New Jersey high schools to create peer-to-peer safe driving campaigns. She then presented the club with a $1000 check to implement their safe driving program.

Last year, the club was selected as a champion school to compete, in the “U Got Brains” competition, sponsored by the Brain Alliance of New Jersey and supported by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. The club received a driving simulator for participating in the competition.

“There are more people this year, more ideas, and a better understanding of what needs to be accomplished. The safe driving club really encourages everyone to be aware and alert when behind the wheel,” said Moreno.

Co-presidents of the club, seniors Caitlin Marks, and Casey Van Newenhizen, were both excited to return to the club this year and its progress.

“The most rewarding part about being a member of this club is being able to be part of the Toni and RJ Foundation,” Van Newenhizen said. This foundation has local connections, as it was created in memory of Toni, a pregnant mother who died in a car accident because of someone who was texting and driving in Sewell, NJ. RJ was the name of her unborn son. According to its website, its mission is to educate drivers on the dangers of driving distracted through publicly sharing Toni and RJ’s story in schools and other public forums.

“The club fights against texting and driving, and it promotes defensive driving so that the road is safer to drive on,” Marks said.

The safe driving club meets every Monday, and it will be holding a battle of the classes to see which class can best promote safe driving. It will plans to hold a “Share the Keys” event, geared toward the sophomore class, which will inform parents about the importance for students with permits to practice driving.