There's danger on the streets: that update can wait

IT BEGAN as a Rock Eisteddfod Challenge entry about the dangers of texting while driving.

It soon became a vehicle for attitude change among its performers.

"Don't do it," performer Tayla Campbell said of about sending texts behind a wheel.

The Mt Druitt year 12 student from Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School has been in a rage since becoming involved in her school's eight-minute Rock Eisteddfod production, The Last Message, which is based around the themes of the romantic-tragedy musical West Side Story.

Her 100 castmates are just as vocal on the subject and have joined her in spreading the word among family and friends.

Tayla said seeing online US documentary The Last Text at school really brought home to her the importance of holding off on text messages in the car.

"It was so graphic," Tayla said of the video that follows five people and includes fatalities.

"Now when I see someone texting next to me [in a car] I think 'Oh, my God!'" Jake McDonald, of Blacktown, said.

He plays The Rebel in Northmead's dance story. Tayla plays Maria.

"Jett [Josh O'Grady of Kings Langley] shoots The Rebel when Maria gets back together with him at a party," she said.

Panicked, Jett forces her into a car and the pair start receiving messages asking if everything is OK.

According to the Roads and Maritime Services website the risk of accident is quadrupled when people text while driving.

"For younger and inexperienced drivers, the risks are even greater; this is why using hands-free phones is not allowed for L and P1 plate drivers," the website stated.

Maria said seeing the injuries that could result from being in a collision caused by text-driving had far greater impact on her and her friends than any fine.

In other news, the cast held a fund-raiser for the Tabba and Maddy Garay Appeal.

The appeal supports the Baulkham Hills family of 75-year-old Jane Garay who died in a crash in July with her granddaughter Tabitha.

¦ Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School and Parramatta PCYC will perform in the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Friday, August 24.

Muirfield High School will perform tomorrow.


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