Snapchat, HipChat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, good ol’ texting – we get it! There’s an endless array of ingenious apps out there to let people connect and communicate from their smartphones and your kids are probably using most of them. But one place where smart apps are just plain stupid? When you’re behind the wheel of a car.
As a parent, you need to talk to your kids about the dangers of distracted driving. No message, no app, no cute cat meme is ever worth losing your focus or losing your life. Set the example and leave your phone alone while driving.
Jacy Good from Pennsylvania knows all too well the consequences of drivers distracted by their mobile devices. In 2008, her parents were killed in a horrific crash caused by a teenager who was focused on his phone and not his driving. Since that horrible day, she’s been sharing her story with young drivers hoping to get the message across – there’s more on the line than whatever message is on your phone.
On her last day of college, Jacy’s parents were driving her home when suddenly at an intersection, a milk truck slammed right into their car trying to avoid an oncoming car driven by a teen talking on his phone. In a split-second, Jacy’s parents were gone and Jacy herself was seriously injured. Broken bones, surgeries, a brain injury, and a lengthy recovery later, she now shares her story hoping that it will deter drivers from picking up their phone while driving.
The story didn’t just end there. While Jacy had to recover from a traumatic brain injury and can’t use one of her arms or the lower part of a leg, there was another victim that day. The truck driver was so traumatized by the event that he couldn’t bring himself to ever drive again. His life spiraled out of control and into a toxic soup of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and family problems eventually leading to his suicide. All that from one kid on a cellphone.
Sadly, Jacy’s story has become all too common. But she wants it to be a warning to kids and parents: “I want people to stop killing each other. It’s in your hands to make this world, to make our roads a little bit better place to be.”
So before you hand over the car keys to your teen driver remember Jacy’s story and share it with your kids: focus on driving and absolutely no use of devices while behind the wheel of a car. Nothing on your phone is ever more important than that single message.
For more information
- Distracted Driving and Cell Phones, WHQR Public Radio
- How to Talk to Teens About Distracted Driving, Your Teen Magazine
- Distracted driving: texting will become largest cause of teen deaths, predicts instructor, CBC British Columbia