Kudos to Choteau High School sophomore Ellie Lee and the rest of the CHS FCCLA chapter for their “Ghost Out” activity at CHS on Feb. 13. The chapter earned third-place honors for this community outreach project at the state FCCLA convention last week in Billings and Lee, the chairwoman for the project, placed in the top five for project leaders at the state convention. She will get to give a report on the project at the national FCCLA convention this summer in Anaheim, California.

The FCCLA chapter did the Ghost Out after learning about the FACTS — Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety, a national FCCLA peer education program through which students strive to save lives through personal, vehicle and road safety. Teens work to educate adults and youth about traffic safety and support enforcement of local rules and regulations regarding community traffic safety. Youth leaders help families promote basic safety attitudes that can last a lifetime.

Lee’s project was designed to show students the impacts of distracted driving — something drivers of all ages are guilty of from time to time. She took one student out of a CHS classroom every hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., signifying that a teenager dies every 15 minutes in the United States from distracted driving-related crashes. The students became “ghosts” who weren’t allowed to speak to other students or use their cell phones until school dismissed.

One participant told the Acantha that the experience of being “ghosted out” made a big impression on him and has galvanized him to be a more focused driver.

The lesson Lee taught through her program is one that all of us who are drivers should take to heart. There are lots of situations in which multi-tasking is a great thing. Driving a car is not one of them. Examples of distracted driving habits include checking phones for texts or texting, eating in the car, dropping something and trying to pick it up or reaching into the backseat for something, talking to other people in a car, fiddling with the radio or changing songs on your smart phone’s play list, brushing your teeth or putting make-up on.

Please, follow the CHS FCCLA’s lead and don’t be a distracted driver. When you’re driving, focus on the road conditions and the conditions surrounding your car. Don’t become a traffic statistic because you just had to hear a different song or take that phone call. Choose caution and focus instead.