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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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She Survived Her First Driving-While-Texting Accident – But Not Her Second

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Technology allows us to make phone calls, text, send emails and update social media while driving – all actions proven to increase auto accidents. While most people admit that it’s dangerous, they still can’t shake such behavior, especially teens. Young adults have essentially been weaned on technology; they don’t know of life without cellphones.

Distracted driving is such a prevalent problem that April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness month and a time to focus on the choices one makes behind the wheel. The goal is to increase awareness of what happens when drivers don’t give their full attention to the road. For starters, we need to stop calling them accidents because distracted driving involves voluntary choices. Secondly, when you make the conscious decision to text or talk while driving, it is just a matter of time before it catches up to you, and the consequences can be devastating.

I read a story in The Fresno Bee over the weekend and felt it was worth sharing with my readers.

In 2006, Amanda Clark’s phone conversation ended abruptly when her Chevrolet Trailblazer rolled three times before landing on its roof. Amanda ran a stop sign and was broadsided by another vehicle. Fortunately, she survived with just scrapes and bruises.

After the incident, Amanda pledged to put her phone away whenever she got behind the wheel. She even wrote about her experience for a high school project.

“I believe everything happens for a reason and the reason for my car accident is to let me know that I need to slow down and pay more attention. I know that I need to change the way I have been living my life. My phone and talking to my friends put me in danger. I realize how easy it is for my life to be over because I wasn’t paying attention.”

Amanda’s pledge was short lived. Her mom said that soon Amanda became more confident behind the wheel; she believed nothing would happen to her because — hey, she survived one crash, right? But, a year later almost to the day of her rollover accident, Amanda was talking and texting with her roommate when she took a corner too fast, lost control of her vehicle and flipped over. She died the next day.

No text or phone call is important enough to risk losing your life or taking someone else’s, yet thousands of fatal auto accidents occur each year due to drivers using cell phones, whether a hand-held or hands-free device. Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is by far one of the most dangerous distraction. And messaging behind the wheel isn’t only a choice you’re making but likely a law you’re breaking. Although texting and talking on a cellphone are the most widely distraction that drivers engage in, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, applying make-up, shaving, using a navigation system can also cause of many serious and fatal auto accidents.

When it comes to maximizing your safety behind the wheel, you have the power to make the right choices. Don’t think you are invincible; don’t play the “odds.” What happened to Amanda Clark can happen to you. Starting today, pledge to “take back your drive.” Remove all distractions and focus on the important task at hand: getting to your destination safely.

Lawsuit Financial strongly supports restrictions on driver distractions of any kind. We actively promote driver safety and publicly addressing the many driving distractions that exist in our daily lives. We also pledge to lend support to those who are trying to do something about this dangerous, life threatening, activity. The Casey Feldman Foundation (CFF) is one organization that seeks to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Organizations and charities like CFF were formed as a result of tragedies to precious family members. In additional to its efforts to educate, CFF also provides financial support to individuals, groups, and institutions whose missions are to prevent injuries and death resulting from distracted driving. For a list of causes that CFF supports or to make a contribution, click here.