Oakdale, California resident Bonnye Spray recently gave a presentation to a high school health class about her daughter, who got into two accidents texting while driving and was killed during the second time.
Spray’s daughter, Amanda Clark, got into her first accident in 2006 when she was broadsided by another driver and her car flipped three times. Fortunately, she survived the crash with only bruises and scrapes.
Spray said of the first accident:
“I thought this would be a wake up call for her. And it was for a short time she wouldn’t talk on the phone, she was more cautious. But she got more confident in her driving and a sense of ‘Hey, I survived one, I’m invincible, nothing is going to happen to me now.'”
Almost exactly one year later in 2007, Clark lost control of the car she was driving while on a highway; cell phone records indicate she was texting at the time. First responders said it took them 40 minutes to free Clark from the totaled car and that she had not been breathing for a whole 20 minutes by that time. She passed away the following day.
Spray gave the presentation as part of a program called Impact Teen Drivers, which is a collaboration between first responders, educators, health professionals and traffic safety advocates April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The group educates high school students on proper driving safety etiquette, especially the need to put cell phones away. A driver with three passengers in the car is three times more likely to crash, 12 times more likely to crash when he/she reaches for a phone to check text messages, and 16 times more likely to crash when he/she tries to respond to a text message.
Spray was first asked by a driver’s education teacher about what happened to Amanda a few months following the crash.
“I just wrote down the basics of what had happened. I had to read it and bawled my eyes out the entire time.”
Afterward, she said:
“I noticed the kids were quiet, a lot of kids were wiping tears away and I realized this does have an impact.”
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