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Bear Aware teaches students to be responsible behind the wheel


by Trinity Gruenberg

The Bertha-Hewitt School held a Bear Aware event on Wednesday, April 24 to teach high schoolers about distracted driving, vaping and wearing a seatbelt.

Sergeant Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol spoke to the students. Grabow is a third generation state trooper and was drawn to the career at a young age. He also enjoys super heroes and has 117 super hero t-shirts.

Students attending the presentation are about to or have recently received a driver’s license. Quoting a line from Spiderman... “With great power comes great responsibility”...behind the wheel.

“You’re operating a 5000 pound piece of metal on rubber tires,” said Grabow.

At 55 miles per hour, a driver is covering 80 feet per second.

Grabow discussed factors related to possibly causing an accident and explained that you can’t always blame the weather. He said there are four main factors in a crash: speed, distracted driving, impaired driving, and not wearing a seatbelt, all of which are a choice made by the driver.

“I’d rather have these conversations here than on the roadside,” said Grabow.

By a show of hands, most students have been in a car with someone who was distracted while driving. Another show of hands revealed a handful of students who spoke up to the driver about their distracted driving. Grabow explained it’s become a social norm not to speak up.

“Speak up when it’s not popular,” said Grabow. 

Grabow said many times first responders arrive at an accident and see people who were not buckled up.

“One poor decision might lead to another,” explained Grabow. . . .

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