Texting while driving can be a deadly combination

Published 12:20 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

To the Editor:

My name is Tracy O’Carroll and I’m writing this column to remind people of the dangers of texting and cellphone use while driving. On January 5, 2011, I lost my 18-year-old daughter, Sarah, in a tragic car accident. Sarah was reading a text message when she collided with a log truck. Two families’ lives have been changed forever.

The use of cellphones behind the wheel has become of particular concern in recent years. Young people think they’re invincible, that nothing can happen to them. It only takes a second to lose your life. Physically dialing a phone while driving increases the risk of a crash as much as six times. Texting or dialing a cellphone forces you to take your eyes off the road, leaving you virtually driving blind.

People who are on their phones miss twice as many simulated traffic signals. When you text and drive, you are putting your life in danger as well as others, so the next time you receive that text or call … ignore it … wait until you get to your destination or pull over to a safe place.  If you and your loved ones would change your phone habits you may not have to endure the pain that my family and friends had to go through and still are each day that Sarah is not with us.

This message does not just apply to teens, it’s for adults as well. Some steps to take as parents: 1. Set a good example. 2. Talk to your teen. 3. Establish ground rules. 4. Sign a pledge. 5. Educate yourself. 6. Spread the word. If  I had realized the seriousness of the danger of cellphones, maybe I could have saved my daughter’s life.  So please — Do Not Text and Drive. Be a responsible driver. God bless you and thank you.