By: Dale Boyd – Penticton Western News
Published: October 6, 2015

When Parker Thompson gets behind the wheel the speeds are higher, but the stakes are the same.

The 17-year-old race car driver from Red Deer, Alta. stopped in at Penticton Secondary School on Oct. 2 to speak with students about distracted driving, a factor in 34 per cent of all crashes involving people ages 16 to 20 between 2009 and 2013.

Thompson got behind the wheel of a go-kart at eight years old and now races in USF2000, an Indy Car training ground and the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy racing series. Thompson told students he feels safer pushing two-litre engines up to 240 km/h than he does driving on any Canadian highway.

Thompson is on a 60-school tour across Canada to tell students who are just getting their licenses about the dangers of distracted driving.

“I wanted to give back. I saw the emerging problem of distracted driving, how many lives it was taking and it was a no-brainer because when we’re in the race car we know first hand what five seconds of distraction can do,” Thompson said. “It’s life or death and it’s the same thing on the roads”………