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March 20, 2016 will forever be a day that changed our family. A day when legacies that would have been went forever unfulfilled. When two young lives from our family were abruptly snatched away. And when a brother took up the quest to end distracted driving.
On that day my two sisters, both talented with great lives ahead, were blindsided by an epidemic that plagues society. We know it by two words that have become synonymous with unexpected tragedy: distracted driving.
It was a day at the conclusion of Spring Break in South Padre, Texas. Four young women, my two sisters among them, piled into a car headed home for Houston. According to police reports, at some point on the road the driver of their vehicle was distracted by her phone’s GPS and ultimately veered into the path of a semi-trailer truck, causing a catastrophic collision. My two sisters, Brianna (19) and Jade Robinson (17), were killed in the crash, along with a third teenage passenger. The sole survivor of the incident was the driver.
We can never get these lives back, but we can make changes for the future to ensure others aren’t lost the same way. I talk about this very issue with audiences made up of parents, truck drivers, surgeons and teens. When you get behind the wheel, I ask you to keep people like my sisters in mind and to really scrutinize the decisions you make while you drive. Each day, most of us do things like check the GPS or look at a text while we’re driving, never thinking that anything awful could happen.
But they can and they do, even with the best intentions. So if you are a parent, please educate your children on the dangers of distraction. Teens, please talk about this with your peers, because it could happen to anyone. As a campus principal, I deal with teens and community members daily, and the most tragic thing that could happen is the loss of a young life. I can relate from personal and professional experience. It only takes a moment, so make the right decision and don’t drive distracted.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
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