Amanda Clark received a wake up call when her cell phone use caused a frightening accident. She ran a stop sign in California and was broadsided while talking to a friend. Her Chevrolet Trailblazer rolled three times and came to rest on its roof. Miraculously, the teen walked away with a few scratches and bruises.
Following the first texting while driving crash, she swore she had learned her lesson. But a year later, Amanda was back texting on the phone while behind the wheel of her car. She caused a wreck again. Sadly, she died in the collision.
Hopefully national publicity campaigns spreading Amanda’s story and others like it will spread the word and prevent thousands of needless crashes a year.
Crashes caused by drivers texting or talking on their phones happens more than you might imagine. Why do so many people think it’s safe to drive a 3,000 to 6,000 pound machine at a high rate of speed and not watch out for other vehicles? Doesn’t it seem like every other person you see is using his or her phone as you driver here in Dallas-Fort Worth?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a shocking 3,154 people died and 424,000 people were injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013.
A driver is three times more likely to wreck if at least three passengers are in the vehicle. The likelihood of crashing increases by 12 times if the driver reaches for her or his mobile phone and 16 times if he responds to a text message.
These high numbers demonstrate the incredible risks of talking on the phone or texting while driving — especially with teenagers. Ten percent of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash in 2013, and car wrecks are the number one killer of our young drivers, according to the NHTSA.
Pledge to Be an Attentive Driver
Take the Focused Driver Challenge
The National Safety Council (NSC) campaign focuses attention on the dangers of distracted driving through public announcements, school presentations and educational resources.
NSC also encourages drivers to take the Focused Driver Challenge this April. Drivers pledge to pay attention and to not engage in distracting activities while driving, including talking on the phone, texting, sending emails, taking photos and inputting GPS instructions.
This is a great opportunity to resolve to put the phone down. And talk to your teens about the dangers of distracted driving. Remind them over and over again that it just takes one moment of distraction to lose control or to not see a stop sign or a disabled vehicle up ahead.
I never let my daughter use her cell phone while driving when she was a teenager. Our children’s — and all driver’s — lives are precious.