October 22, 2009
I beg your indulgence again today as I respond to a query left on Monday’s blog. The comment provided a link to a NY Times article from September 1st that is part of a series entitled ‘Driven to Distraction’. It asked for my reaction to the storyline; since it is still Teen Driver Safety Week, I wanted to respond…
During the last week of August, my husband John was caught off guard watching the news… The lead story of the morning aired the latest You Tube video sensation: a public service announcement produced by the Gwent Police Department in Wales. The video graphically re-enacted a multi-car accident caused by a teenager who was texting while driving. John initially changed the channel, but ultimately had to turn off the television and take a walk outside…
I tried to watch the video online several days later, but also had to stop; while neither John nor I made it to the accident scene that day, we have imagined the horrific sequence of events thousands of times over the last sixteen months... Confronting the mangled wreckage of his car and visiting the point of origin gave us a very good idea of what transpired. The self-directed movie in our minds tracks closely with this brief film. After finally making myself sit and watch it entirely, I wrote a brief post under the ‘Mom Minute’ blogger entitled ‘Fatally Distracted’ on September 7th.
As I said in the earlier blog, if you believe you are competent to talk or text while driving, please follow the link to watch the video on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?&next_url=/watch%3Fv%3D5ttNgZDZruI . You must now sign in to watch this particular link, verifying you are 18 or older, which is interesting to me as the original target audience was high-school aged teenagers. The link below will lead you to CNN and The Today Show news reports with the video footage, without the ‘age flag’: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=psa+texting+while+driving&search_type=&aq=f . After watching, there should be no question about how incredibly fast things can go very, very wrong. Every driver needs to watch this video; parents of teen drivers should watch it twice, the second time with their child.
Let me be very clear: Brian was making a phone call-pressing a SINGLE button-and paid for his distraction with his life. It happened so fast the call didn't register on our phone bill... We know for certain he was on his phone because we dug it out from the crushed back seat of his Honda Civic; his last call was ‘sent’ at 11:46 a.m.
The Times article cites differing opinions regarding the effectiveness of such a violent portrayal. I can only speak of my own recent experiences, as I am not an authority on driver safety, nor am I armed with statistics to confirm or deny the statements contained in the story. Since early September, I have been blessed to be a guest speaker of the Footprints ministry outreach, addressing classrooms at several high schools in the Charlotte area about making better choices. As part of sharing Brian’s story, I show the aerial photo of his car from June 12:
Will the PSA video or the Brian bracelets foster a permanent change in behavior in anyone outside of my family? I honestly don’t know, but what will it hurt to try? We must do SOMETHING to raise awareness… For me, if I can persuade just one person to make a wiser choice, then it means my son didn’t lose his life in vain. Along with changing the law to completely ban phones in moving vehicles, we must each commit to break this dangerous habit. This is not simply a ‘teen driver’ problem. It stands to reason experienced adult drivers are just as dangerous, if not more so, due to the sheer numbers involved! The next time you are sitting at a stop sign or traffic light during school hours, take a good look around. At the number of distracted adults. You will be amazed; it is a sobering reality check.
My challenge to you: be the example. Just. Do. It. Now. We need to put the phones away and focus on driving. It’s easy. And who knows? The life you save may very well be your own…or that of your child…
Wishing you blessings and hope…tg
Thanks to Darin Morton and Gary Cooper of State Farm Insurance, we have additional ‘Remember Brian’ bracelets to share. Please send your request and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays. -- Jen, site administrator