After we lost Brian, I truly believed that in time, some sort of purpose or mission for my life would be revealed. And it was. Since then, I’ve spent nearly four years defining and refining my efforts to raise awareness with teenagers and their families about the dangers of cellular distraction while driving. The simple fact of the matter is this: no one should lose their life over the press of a button.
To date, I have focused most of my energy on students, believing if they saw the damage to Brian’s vehicle, felt my heartache and heard how the impact of his death continued to affect his family and friends, most would make the wise decision to ignore their phones while driving.
While I’m certain some of them took my message to heart, I’m equally sure that others, given time and ever increasing experience behind the wheel, gradually persuaded themselves that it really wasn’t dangerous, that ‘It won’t happen to me.”
So tonight, I stand at a crossroad… For various reasons, I chose to remain strictly a grassroots girl, appealing to drivers directly…until now. I recognized earlier this year that what I’ve been doing is adequate at best, but I’ve only just admitted to myself that I must do more in order to affect real and meaningful change … I have to take my petition to the next level.
Therefore, for the first time in my life, I have written a letter to a member of the North Carolina house. I am requesting his advocacy and support of legislation to completely ban the use of hand-held cellular devices by all drivers of motor vehicles; I am sending it tonight in advance of a meeting my fellow activists Skip & Jerry Mudge have scheduled with him on Tuesday morning.
Generally speaking, I am not in favor of enacting laws in response to what should be a common sense behavioral decision; unfortunately, in this instance, I am convinced it is the only way to force drivers to put their phones away and simply drive. Technology has advanced far beyond talking; we are no longer merely inattentive. Many people are now driving without looking at the road for five seconds or more at a time…they may as well be driving blindfolded.
The epidemic of cell phone distracted driving will end only when the financial consequences of breaking the law are severe enough to deter it… Until it significantly impacts the offender’s wallet-as in stiff monetary fines and insurance points-driver behavior will not change…
And so I take my first steps down this new road…wish me luck…
“I will go on quietly and slowly, but I will go on firmly, and with a certainty of success.” – Daniel O’Connell
Wishing you many blessings…tg
Tammy will update her blog twice weekly…