(From Left to Right) James F. Swartz III - President - Bar Association of Lehigh County
Dan Reavy - Director External Affairs - Verizon Pennsylvania
Dan LaBert - Executive Director - Bar Association of Lehigh County

BETHLEHEM – March 24, 2011 – The dangers of texting while driving are the focus of a new educational video which debuted during a student assembly today at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem.

The video, entitled “Not Behind The Wheel,” was produced earlier this year by the Bar Association of Lehigh County in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. This program is being funded through a $15,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.

eMediaWorks of Center Valley filmed 11 students from the charter high school on location and in a studio over the course of two days in January and February. A driving simulator at Lehigh Carbon Community College was also used in the filming to demonstrate how long it takes to type and send an average text message.

"Verizon is proud to improve the quality of life for youth and families in the Lehigh Valley by empowering the community with innovative tools and resources," said Daniel J. Reavy, Director of External Affairs for Verizon Pennsylvania. "We're investing in programs, such as our partnership with the Bar Association of Lehigh County, to touch people's lives by focusing on education, health and family safety in the 21st century. We understand that education does not begin or end in the classroom.”

"Texting while driving is just not worth the risk. In the few seconds it takes to type and send a text message, another driver can pull out in front of you or stop suddenly,” said Bar Association of Lehigh County Executive Director Dan LaBert.  “Innocent lives are at stake. We must give kids, parents and educators the tools they need to understand the safe use of cell phones.”

Copies of the video will be sent to school districts in the greater Lehigh Valley region in the hopes that they will be shown as part of drivers education classes. Members of the Bar Association and local elected officials will also receive copies. The video can also be viewed online at www.NotBehindTheWheel.me.

eMediaWorks is the educational media company that produced the Not Behind the Wheel program.  Last year in partnership with the Bar Association and Verizon Foundation they produced the Emmy-nominated program called ONEFACE about CyberSafety.

Previously, the team produced the Emmy-nominated program TAKE ONE STEP about dropout prevention, also featuring students from LVPA.  The eMediaWorks team of Producer Teri Haddad, Ed.D., Director Scott Paul, Ph.D., and Editor Brandon Pousley has won two regional Emmy's for Outstanding Children's Programs.

The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts provides a rich and comprehensive educational program for students grades 9 through 12 with talent and potential in dance, figure skating, instrumental music, visual arts, vocal music, and theatre. Admission to LVPA is based on audition.

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