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Macksville team wins ThinkFast competition
Finalists for the ThinkFast Interactive program are Macksvilles Rachael East, St. Johns Tim Easley, Macksvilles Katrina Waters and Staffords Allison Lowther. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

ST. JOHN — Macksville’s Rachael East is accustomed to thinking fast and performing under pressure.
East answered three questions with lightning-quick accuracy to capture the ThinkFast Interactive contest against three Stafford County students Monday at St. John High School.
East answered “Blue,” as the color of Smurfs for the winning answer. She also answered “Detroit,” as the Motor City and “Ford,” as the manufacturer of the Mustang.
She is a state piano qualifier and qualified for state in Scholar’s Bowl. Joining East on Macksville’s winning team were state cross country qualifiers Lisa Penner and Anna Penner and Amy Holquin. The team won a iTunes card.
Others competing in the four-player finals were St. John’s Tim Easley, Macksville’s Katrina Waters and Stafford’s Allison Lowther.
Easley’s teammates were Maddy Lippholdt and Preston Miller.
Waters qualified for the finals with a passionate 30-second argument against drinking and driving. Her teammate was Taylor Rodriguez.
“Why are you drinking and driving?” Waters asked with a stylish New Jersey accent. “Your mother did not want you to go out there drinking and driving. Put those keys in my pocket and let me drive you home. I’m a good driver and I wear my seat belt. I don’t drink and drive. Don’t drink and drive — you’ll get a ticket.”
Lowther qualified for the finals by performing a song. Lowther scored a perfect 1 at the State Piano Festival. Her teammate was Alyson Kaley.
St. John High School was selected due to strong community support and involvement after participating in the Seat belts are for Everyone (SAFE) program sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Moderator Will Krahn of Kingsville, Ontario led a fast-paced interactive discussion that centered around the hazards of texting while driving and drinking and driving.
The Kansas teens learned about traffic safety laws during the one-hour ThinkFast Interactive program that featured a game show backdrop.
The ThinkFast Interactive provides students with information that can facilitate choices that carry into the real world.  
ThinkFast offered trivia questions on sports, music, TV, movies, celebrities, general entertainment topics, and pop icons, as well as academic topics like art, literature, science, math, geography, and history. Six questions were asked about Top 40, urban, rock or mainstream radio music videos.  
The students found out singer Taylor Swift made $39.6 million in 2013. The song “Happy,” was featured in “Despicable Me 2.” The group, “One Direction,” and the song “Feel So Close,” were featured in questions.
ESP questions asked the students to guess what percentage of group leaders answered a survey question.
The program offered timely facts and information about distracted driving.
• Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average 4.6 seconds. Driving 55 mph and reading a text is the same as driving 100 yards blind.
• Lack of sleep reduces a person’s ability to process information, sustain attention, have accurate motor control and react normally. All are crucial driving skills. Drowsy driving is dangerous, which accounts for 10 to 30 percent of all crashes. When you’re drowsy, it’s time to pull over and get some fresh air.   
“If you are sleepy, do not drive. Tired driving is crazy dangerous,” Krahn said. “If you can’t put on a pair of pants, I promise, you are not able to drive a car.”
• Juvenile drivers are allowed to drive unsupervised on a restricted Kansas license from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• On an average day in Kansas — Six people sustain an injury in an alcohol-related crash. Nearly 50 people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
• A DUI could cost a driver — fines up to $2,500; a minimum attorney fee of $500; substance abuse treatment starts at $250; ignition interlock set fees cost $75 and a minimum monthly cost of $65.
• Blood alcohol content is the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood. Driving under the influence means driving any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or controlled substances.
• Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teenagers. Eighty-three percent of teens involved in a fatality were not bucked.  Sixty percent of teen traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.